Xavier Ouellet was bought out by the Detroit Red Wings to open up some roster spots for their young defensive prospects, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be part of an NHL organization next year. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that the Montreal Canadiens have “kicked the tires” on Ouellet since his buyout, indicating that there is at least some interest.
Ouellet was actually born in France but played his minor hockey just outside Montreal and captained the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada during his QMJHL career. It would be a homecoming of sorts for the 24-year old defenseman should he sign with the Canadiens, who have a lot of experience on the blue line but found little success there last season. Montreal may not have room to add him on the NHL roster, but he would certainly provide a solid option for the Laval Rocket who are trying to rebuild after a disastrous season that included losing the last twelve games of the regular season.
- The Calgary Flames are interested in their own version of reconnecting a player with a familiar structure, though this time it’s not a hometown. Derek Ryan is visiting the Flames today according to Frank Seravalli of TSN, a good fit given that his former head coach Bill Peters is now running the show. Peters was the coach who gave Ryan his first crack at the NHL after a long and winding hockey career, and the 31-year old center rewarded him with a 38-point season in 2017-18. Ryan is one of the top centers available this summer behind John Tavares, despite his relatively little experience in the NHL. Making his debut at the age of 29, he has just 153 games under his belt to this point.
- The Utah Grizzlies are the new ECHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, extending their organizational structure to a third tier below the newly promoted Colorado Eagles. The Eagles won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup in each of the past two seasons, but were bumped up to the AHL as a 31st team to provide equal numbers with the NHL. Utah wasn’t so lucky, missing the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. The Avalanche will try to turn that around immediately, and make a commitment to developing a solid prospect base for the Grizzlies to work with.