12/8: Ouellet has cleared waivers and has been reassigned by the Habs to the AHL’s Laval Rocket.
12/7: The Montreal Canadiens have placed another young player on waivers, as Xavier Ouellet finds himself there today. The Canadiens are expecting Noah Juulsen back this weekend, and needed to clear some room on the blue line for him.
Ouellet, 25, has played 19 games for the Canadiens this season after signing a one-year, two-way deal in the summer. Bought out of his previous contract with the Detroit Red Wings, Ouellet landed in the city where he started his junior career, and looked to be a capable fill-in while the Canadiens waited for Shea Weber and company to get healthy. He’d fallen out of favor in Detroit, but was still young enough to establish himself in the NHL.
Unfortunately, Ouellet finds himself in an overcrowded group now that Juulsen is set to return and Brett Kulak has played his way into the lineup. The Canadiens will have eight healthy defensemen and needed to make a decision on someone. Ouellet is the only one of them outside of Juulsen that is on a two-way deal, which may have factored into the decision. That $700K two-way deal might be interesting to someone else around the league though, as he provides a relatively cheap option that has experience coming in and out of the lineup.
The Canadiens have already lost Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de La Rose on waivers this season, and very well could lose Ouellet tomorrow. Though none of the three are exactly fundamental players on their roster, losing depth for nothing is never the ideal situation. The Canadiens have plenty of contract slots available, and are likely hoping that Ouellet can sneak through and report to the Laval Rocket of the AHL.