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Player Grades: Xavier Ouellet

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profile

Born: July 29, 1993, Bayonne, France (age 25)

Height, Weight: 6’1”, 208lbs

Position: Defense

Contract: 1 year remaining, AAV $1.25 million (RFA in 2019)

Player Stats

Games Played: 45

Goals: 0

Assists: 7

TOI/G: 13:51 (down ~4 minutes a game from 2016-17

5v5 CF%: 51.6%

Season Expectations

Here’s what Mike wrote in the season preview article:

The silver lining in all this is that Ouellet is only 24. As far as defensemen go, he still has some time before he “is what he is”, although that point is looming on the horizon. With most of the team looking to hopefully take steps forward this season, I’d put XO’s high-water-mark at 20 points. He should be able to get there with improved play and if he can top his 66 game stint from last year, plus he could get some higher quality line-mates depending on how Kronwall’s minutes get shuffled.

Season Performance

Well, he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. In fact, he played himself out of the lineup, playing in just over half the games this season. When he did play, his possession numbers were better than last year, (51.6 5v5 SACF%) and he was one of only two Detroit defensemen to be on the right side of 50% in that area.

His GF% was 48.65, which is obviously not great, but it was second best on the team after Danny DeKeyser (if we throw out Joe Hicketts because of small sample size, which we should).

As Detroit fans know, any stat in which a player was “2nd best on the Detroit defense corps” needs to be looked at in context. That would be good for 125th in the league (out of 213) for defenseman playing at least 500 minutes (217 would give you roughly the 7 defensemen with the most minutes for each of the 31 teams).

Out of his 7 points (all assists), 5 of them were secondary assists. It’s not to say that secondary assists don’t matter, but primary assists are considered more valuable.

If you are interested in reading more about the value of secondary assists, here is an easy to understand article from Jeff Little at The Cannon and a more detailed article by Eric Tulsky.

When I wrote the Trevor Daley player grade article, I showed the WAR/60 chart for Detroit’s defense. Here it is again, with Ouellet easily at the bottom of it.

Sean Tierney

In addition to the numbers, Ouellet failed the eye test this season as well. Detroit needed him to take a step forward, but instead he took a step back. At this point, it seems unlikely he will be a part of Detroit’s plans moving forward.

Grade: F

It gives me no pleasure to assign Ouellet that grade. You can point to some things that may justify consideration of a higher grade, but ultimately he played his way into the press box.


How would you grade Xavier Ouellet’s 2017-18 season?

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  • 1%
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    (24 votes)
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    (149 votes)
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