After the stellar two days the Red Wings had at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the makeup of the 2018-19 roster becomes a little bit clearer.
Expect the Detroit Red Wings to place defenceman Xavier Ouellet on waivers for buyout.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 24, 2018
Early Sunday morning, as reported by Darren Dreger of TSN, the Red Wings will be placing Xavier Ouellet on waivers for the purpose of buying the defenseman out from his contract.
Ouellet had one more year left in his contract, at the cap hit of $1.25m. Here is what the buyout structure will look like, provided by NHLnumbers:
The Red Wings will carry cap hit of $166,666 during the 2018-19 season, then a $216,666 cap hit for the 2019-20 season. A minimal sacrifice to open up some of that logjam on the blueline. Most likely, Holland was unable to find a trade partner for Ouellet, so this is the best option for the team going forward. Ouellet gets to start somewhere fresh, and the Red Wings get a roster spot open.
Turning 25-years-old next month, Ouellet has spent the past five years in the Detroit system. Drafted 48th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, he was seen as a steady bet on to make the NHL and contribute at that level. Ouellet has played 183 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, scoring 9 goals and 62 points, and has played 141 games for the Red Wings, scoring 5 goals and 23 points.
He was never the most offensive player, but he could defend well enough to stay in some lineups the Red Wings had. This past season, Ouellet only played 45 games for the Wings, getting seven assists on the way. He was one of only six Red Wings this year that had above 50% 5v5 CF% this year, with 51.14.
With the opening of this spot, it seems much more likely that Holland will be able to keep his promise of “2-4 young players in the lineup” for next season. Some main contenders are: Filip Hronek, Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts, and Libor Sulak. This season will definitely be an interesting transition for management and fans alike.