Xavier Ouellet will be sticking around for another season. The Habs announced on Monday that they’ve re-signed the blueliner to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay him the league minimum $700,000 in the NHL, $300,000 in the AHL, and contains a guarantee of $400,000.
Ouellet joined the Canadiens on July 1st last year after being bought out by the Red Wings in June. (Detroit still owes him just over $216,000 in salary for 2019-20.) He made the team out of training camp and played a regular role most nights for the first seven weeks of the season. However, he didn’t make a huge impact during that time and eventually found himself back on waivers. Upon clearing, he was sent to Laval.
While Ouellet was certainly disappointed about having to return to the minors, the good news is that he got a lot more of an opportunity to play than he had in recent years. Instead of being a depth defender, he was immediately thrust into the number one role with the Rocket, allowing him to make much more of an impact offensively. (He was also named as captain following the trade of Byron Froese to Philadelphia in February.) Ouellet wound up with 28 points in 47 games with Laval compared to just three assists in 19 contests with Montreal.
At the end of the season, Ouellet had indicated that his preference was to get back to the NHL but unless Montreal doesn’t do anything with the left side of their defence corps, it seems likely that he’ll be back with the Rocket to start 2019-20, assuming he passes through waivers unclaimed.
With the signing, Montreal now has five remaining players from Laval in need of qualifying offers this summer – defencemen Gustav Olofsson and Brett Lernout as well as forwards Michael McCarron, Daniel Audette, and Hunter Shinkaruk.