Ouellet scored Detroit's first goal during Friday's win over Chicago. The tally snapped a 19-game goalless stretch, and Ouellet had just four assists during that stretch while averaging only 18:28 of ice time per outing. The Red Wings are a basement-dwelling club in the Eastern Conference, and Ouellet is not receiving enough power-play time to provide a worthwhile fantasy floor. It's difficult to rely on him in any virtual setting at this point.
Through 29 games, Ouellet has six points, 36 PIM and 39 shots on goal while averaging 18:14 of ice time. The 23-year-old rarely gets on the scoresheet, but is showing signs of growth as a young defenseman in his first full NHL season. Prior to this year, the most games he'd played with the big club was 21 -- when he produced three points and averaged 16:23 per contest -- so his additional ice time, 28 hits and 41 blocked shots in 2016-17 are an encouraging sign. That said, he's not likely to deliver much fantasy value at this stage of his career and can safely be avoided in most formats.
Ouellet ripped a one-timer for his first goal of the season against the Ducks on Saturday. For good measure, he also tacked on a helper, plus-3 rating, and two PIM over 20:09 of ice time in the 6-4 win on home ice. Ouellet had been handled delicately by the Red Wings, logging only 30 games over his first three seasons, but he's become a lineup regular with fellow blueliners Alexey Marchenko (shoulder) and Brendan Smith (knee) -- to a more significant degree -- dealing with injuries. The lack of experience hurts his fantasy prospects, but the Frenchman has been very efficient this year as evidenced by his plus-9 rating on a Detroit team that currently has a minus-11 goal differential.
Ouellet will be in the lineup Saturday against the Canadiens. Ouellet will tag in for Niklas Kronwall, who isn't necessarily hurt, but receiving the occasional night off to save wear and tear on his problematic knee. Ouellet has one point -- an assist -- in six games at the NHL level this season.
Ouellet, a rookie defenseman, has played the past two games after being a healthy scratch in the previous five. However, veteran blueliner Niklas Kronwall (knee) is reportedly expected to return soon, and we believe that could lead to a reduction in playing time for Ouellet or an assignment to the minors. Ouellet has been rotating with fellow defensive prospect Ryan Sproul, however, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports that both players were extras at Friday's morning skate with Kronwall back on the ice.
Last 7 Games
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