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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80