Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Following the Jurco pick, at No. 48 Detroit selected defenseman Xavier Ouellet of the QMJHL.
One of the knocks on Ouellet is certainly his size; standing just 6’0” and weighing in at 182 lbs. That may have concerned some teams, but what many don’t realize is Niklas Kronwall is the same height as Ouellet and just seven pounds heavier. Given time to bulk up a little, size will not be a problem moving forward.
The other concern that many had with Ouellet is his quickness. While speed is an asset, I think defensively, it can be compensated for with intelligence. Nick Lidstrom is a silky skater, but he doesn’t have incredible speed or quickness (who does after 40?). He makes up for it with his positioning and vision.
Grant McCagg, a scout from TSN said of Ouellet:
"Strengths -- Smart puck mover with some character, solid work ethic, plucky, really improved, appreciate him the more you see him. Gets good position on his man, strong character, competitive, very smart, uses body well, quick puck mover, a coach's player."
In 2010-11 with Montreal, Ouellet netted eight goals and added 35 assists. He was only assessed 44 penalty minutes in 67 games.
I think Ouellet has the tools needed to become a second or third pairing defenseman in the NHL, and he couldn’t have found a better fit than with the Red Wings. His offensive abilities will be appreciated, and his intelligence will make up for his lack of mobility.
Moving forward, Ouellet will be a bit of a project, but five years from now I see him competing for time on an NHL blue line. Whether he's still in Detroit is yet to be seen.
2016-2017 Projected Season
Third Pairing Defenseman (Red Wings)
9 Goals 5 Assists +/- +6