Detroit — The Red Wings on Sunday placed Xavier Ouellet on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying the defenseman out of his contract.
Ouellet, 24, has another year on his contract at $1.3 million.
The Wings will have a salary cap hit of $166,667 for 2018-19 and $216,667 for 2019-20, as they’re responsible for one-third of Ouellet’s salary given he’s under the age of 26.
Ouellet (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) played 45 games last season and had seven points, all assists, with a minus-3 rating.
For all the excitement of this past weekend’s entry draft, and the expected contributions from all the high-end draft picks, Ouellet’s situation is a good education as to temper expectations with all young players.
Ouellet was a 2011 second-round pick and a standout in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was twice a First Team All-Star.
After turning pro, Ouellet actually played one playoff game for the Wings against Boston in 2014, but stayed in Grand Rapids for three seasons as the Wings didn’t have roster openings.
But, Ouellet also never quite developed as the organization hoped, and for the past two seasons, never was able to crack the lineup.
With Nick Jensen safely ahead of him on the depth chart, and prospects Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek and Libor Sulak on the cusp of the NHL, waiving Ouellet will create a badly needed roster opening.
There could be a second spot available on defense depending on whether Mike Green returns.
The potential unrestricted free agent is deciding whether to return to the Wings before the start of free agency July 1.
The Wings are offering a one- or two-year deal, while the 32-year-old Green, coming off neck surgery, is looking for a three-year deal, and might get it on the open market.