Detroit Red Wings
RedWingsSeasonTickets.com Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Red Wings Firsts: Xavier Ouellet

Young D-man was second of nine Red Wings' rookies to make NHL debut last season

Wednesday, 07.23.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Detroit Red Wings
X
Share with your Friends


Red Wings Firsts: Xavier Ouellet

DETROIT Xavier Ouellet’s time in Detroit last season may have been short, but it was very sweet.

The 20-year-old was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins on Oct. 21 and made his NHL debut with Detroit during the team’s 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose. The defenseman skated in place of Jonathan Ericsson, whose fiancé delivered the couple’s first child, a daughter named Liv.

“I was really excited,” Ouellet said of making his debut. “I was happy to have my opportunity and I just wanted to get the best of it. It’s a loss so it’s kind of hard to say I feel good but I’m pretty proud of my game. There are a few things to still work on but it was really exciting and a great experience.”

The Bayonne, France, native returned to Grand Rapids the following day, and appeared in three more regular-season games throughout the season, making a lasting impression on his coaches and teammates during his short time wearing the Winged Wheel.

“I think he played very well, he made it easy on myself too,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “I think he’s got a lot of skill and he understands the NHL or the professional way to play. You have to get the puck in the top guy’s hands, we have some great forwards and he understood that. He made the easy, simple play and that’s how he stayed out of trouble and it actually ended up working out really well for our D pairing.”

Ouellet recorded one shot on goal and one hit in 17:15 of ice time against the Sharks, including a hit on San Jose’s Joe Thornton that couldn’t be ignored.

“I thought he was great,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “He did a great job keeping everyone in front of him. He battled, he had a big hit on Joe (Thornton) there in the first, first game of many for him. He wasn’t afraid to be out there against him and that’s great to see, for X to step up and put a guy of his stature on his rear end.”

It was Ouellet’s first hit, and one that stuck out in his mind after the game.

“I’m pretty proud, I did what I had to do and we’ll see what the coaches think about that,” he said.

The coaches noticed, too. Coach Mike Babcock liked Ouellet’s play through training camp, and recognizes that as a young defenseman, it’s not always about making big plays, but more often about how few mistakes you make.

“Obviously we want them to play and make nice easy plays,” Babcock said. “We want them to do it every time. That’s what Nick Lidstrom made a career of. It’s not a bad way to play. We talk about it all the time. Sometimes we turn the puck over a little too much. … ”

In 23 shifts during his debut, Ouellet avoided committing any turnovers and spent his time on the bench soaking up knowledge from his fellow defensemen. Smith spent a lot of time after shifts talking to Ouellet to ease the transition between the Griffins and Red Wings systems, a gesture that the rookie greatly appreciated.

“They’re the best players in the world so I learned a lot, how to prepare and get ready on the ice talking and just learning how to play with a lot of structure,” Ouellet said. “These are things I learn every day here.”

Ouellet took advantage of every minute spent in Detroit, learning as much as he could from the veteran players. As Smith mentored the young defenseman, he was reminded of a situation he was all too familiar with.

“I did that whole stint where I was up and down, I got my few games in here and there and it was always exciting,” Smith said. “I think you just have to be a sponge and learn from all of the veterans and that’s what I did when I came here. I got to learn from Nick (Lidstrom) and (Niklas) Kronwall and all the guys that are here now. I think that’s the biggest thing for him is just to keep your eyes and ears open and just keep learning so when you get here you stay here.”

Ouellet appeared in four games with the Wings last season, recording four shots and two penalty minutes.

Through 70 regular-season games with the Griffins, he produced four goals and 13 assists.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59