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Wings load up on defense

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 2:17 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Wings load up on defense
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Red Wings used two of their three second-round picks – and five all together – on big defensemen first selecting 6-footer Xavier Ouellet and 6-3 Ryan Sproul with the 35th and 48th pick, respectively, in the 2011 NHL draft at Xcel Energy Center Saturday morning.

Ouellet is no stranger to at least a few members of the Red Wings’ organization. He plays for Montreal of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League along side of forwards Louis-Marc Aubry, who was the Wings’ third-round pick last summer, and Trevor Parkes, who was signed as a free agent last September.

“I talked to them both, but not too much (about the Wings),” Ouellet said. “Maybe I’ll start this summer.”

Ouellet, 17, is a reliable defenseman, who makes good tape-to-tape breakout passes, something the Red Wings’ front office and scouting staff covet when reviewing defensive prospects.

“I’m an overall defenseman, who can do everything. But I need to get stronger,” said Ouellet, who since he was 5-years-old has idolized Nicklas Lidstrom.

“In my mind, he is the best defenseman in the world,” Ouellet said. “This is a dream come true.”

With their third and final pick of the second round, the Wings took Sproul, who played for Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League.

Cut from his Junior A team in 2009, Sproul made a solid turn-around when in his first OHL season, he led all Greyhounds’ defensemen and rookies in scoring with 14 goals with 19 assists in 61 games.
“Some good things happened for me. My future starting looking good from the middle of the season and everything went up hill from there,” said Sproul, of Mississauga, Ontario.

In the afternoon, the Wings returned to picking big defensemen when they took 6-2 Swede Mttias Backman in the fifth round; 6-4 Richard Nedomlel of Swift Current in the Western Hockey League in the sixth round; and 6-2 Russian Alexei Marchenko.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89