Born: July 29, 1993, Bayonne, France (age 24)
Height, Weight: 6’1", 208lbs
Contract: 2 years remaining, AAV $1.25 million (RFA in 2019)
Games Played: 66
5v5 CF%: 49.16%
Xavier Ouellet had a relatively strong year last year, considering how poorly the team did, especially on the defensive end. In terms of Goals Above Replacement, his Even-Strength Defense component was the highest on the Detroit blueline, and the only one over the NHL average.
He was above replacement level in every component, joining Nick Jensen as the only two Red Wings defensemen to be able to say that.
The team was better at 5v5 shots for per hour when he was on the ice than when he was off. The team was better at 5v5 goals for per hour and goals against per hour with him on the ice as well.
He played the most with Jonathan Ericsson and Robbie Russo, so he did not have a strong partner to rely on. Even so, he still held his own.
He was very strong offensively in junior, and while he can contribute offensively, he’s not a very dangerous threat from the back end at the NHL level.
He’s an overall solid NHL defenseman, but he doesn’t stand out in any one area. Although, on the Detroit blueline, a well-rounded, solid presence is helpful.
Ouellet is a very good third pair NHL defenseman who can play on the second pair without hurting the team. He’ll likely never be a star, but he can fill a position on Detroit’s blueline without the team having to worry about him. Perhaps a better defense partner than he’s had of late can help him to provide even more value for the Red Wings.
He’s number 4 on the list currently, but several of the Red Wings younger defensemen should pass him on the depth chart in the next few seasons.