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Time For Xavier Ouellet To Prove Himself On The NHL Level

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

Instead of allowing himself to get caught up in the numbers game, during the 2015-16 hockey season, Ouellet put the emphasis on honing his skills on the ice.

“Last year I think I tried and focus more on hockey and less on all these decisions,” Ouellet said. “I think it helped me. I had a good season in Grand Rapids. I think I played good the five games I played (in Detroit).

“I’m just focused on my game more.”

A game that for Ouellet should finally find its focus placed entirely at hockey’s highest level.

Out of minor-league options, the 6-1, 200-pound Ouellet, 23, would be required to clear waivers in order to be assigned to AHL Grand Rapids and that’s a risk the Wings aren’t about to take.

His time is now and it’s time to find out what he can provide to the club on a regular basis.

In small sample sizes, the Wings certainly like what they’ve seen from Ouellet.

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Comments

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This less about Ouellet proving himself that about the Wings making difficult decisions to bruise a few egos.

The play of the aging vets was less than stellar last season and a case could be made for giving young guys a shot at regular play but it wasn’t even remotely possible. He will likely stay up because the team is out of options but he could have been up last year as well. With these young guys, you play them and see what you have. For the most part he has acquitted himself well and deserved a shot.

Posted by NewfieWing on 09/15/16 at 11:44 PM ET

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Problem is, really, that none of the so-called “great” prospects has really pushed a vet out of a job. As much as the media and fans buy into the Wings rhetoric, these prospects have been so-so at best. Larkin aside.

Posted by GallopingGreg on 09/16/16 at 05:53 AM ET

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Problem is, really, that none of the so-called “great” prospects has really pushed a vet out of a job.

You say that as if any of them have been given a chance.

And hell, look back a couple years to the pre-season when Nyquist and Tatar were unquestionably among the best forwards on the team, yet Tatar started the season in the press box and Nyquist started it in Grand Rapds.

Look at Nyquist, Tatar, Larkin, Athanasiou, Mantha.  All of them have shown how good they are when they’ve been given a chance, yet AA and Mantha re still likely to be starting in Grand Rapids this year through absolutely no fault of their own.

And as far as the defensive prospects go, only Ouellet has gotten even half a chance.

You can’t blame the prospects for faulty decisions being made at the top.

Posted by Garth on 09/16/16 at 07:03 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by GallopingGreg on 09/16/16 at 05:53 AM ET

You don’t understand Greg, prospects in Wings Country are always better than anyone on the roster. Irrespective of who they are, we know their name, therefore they’re what I call next guy. Whose next guy, he’s not this guy, we don’t like this guy, therefore we like next guy.

And next guy, each and every last one of them from Grand Rapids to Toledo, not only deserve a minimum of 30 games, each should handed top line minutes, top line linemates, PP time and PK time otherwise we never gave next guy his chance, we were unfair.

The Red Wings have no knack for developing talent, as an organization, its a league wide joke, we are laughed at by our own fans.

Holland SUCKS! TGIF

Hey Hey Hockeytown!

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 09/16/16 at 07:43 AM ET

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Well, Babcock was pretty vocal two years ago that he wanted Ouellet on the team instead of Kindl (to cite one actual example, instead of an army of strawmen).

We might have known what he had by then.

And it has a cascading effect on each of the other prospects whom the organization keeps mentioning as “almost ready” but who scarcely, if ever, get a chance.

If the prospects just aren’t good enough after all of that ripening, either they just aren’t good enough, period
(which goes to drafting) and/or the status quo development model isn’t working.

Add in the pace of the game and the cap, and there’s even more reason to take a look at what you have while they’re still on entry-level deals. Granted, you aren’t just looking to swap in any old prospect for the sake of it, but I don’t think anyone’s suggested, say, Zach Nastasiuk should replace Steve Ott.

But if the guys who never crack the lineup and end on waivers - or tossed into a trade - aren’t worth worrying about because they aren’t good enough, that’s an awful lot of #2 and #3 picks wasted.

Posted by Lefty30 on 09/16/16 at 08:24 AM ET

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Some players do best when pushed to succeed. Have the Wings really pushed any prospect besides Larkin?

It was crazy not to rotate some of these GR defensemen into the lineup last year. Had they moved Quincey at the deadline there would have been even more opportunity to give them a real look.

I don’t think any are world class defensemen but that doesn’t mean a couple of these guys couldn’t improve the defense within the next couple of years.

Posted by evileye on 09/19/16 at 12:18 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.