3 former Detroit Red Wings struggling to crack Montreal’s lineup

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Xavier Ouellet
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal is coasting through the playoffs but is rarely using a trio of former Detroit Red Wings.

One name you may have forgotten is Xavier Ouellet.  Ouellet had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Red Wings but was eventually bought out by the organization in 2018.

The Red Wings initially drafted Ouellet with the 48th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Level Draft.  The second-round pick never panned out in Detroit, appearing in 141 games while totaling five goals and 23 points.

After being bought out by the Red Wings, Ouellet signed with Montreal but has been used sparingly over the past three seasons.  The 27-year old defender has appeared in 37 games with the Habs over the past three years.

The now veteran defender did appear in 10 playoff games last season with Montreal, recording one assist but has yet to dress in 2020-21.

Before the 2021 NHL trade deadline, the Detroit Red Wings made a deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

Detroit sent defenseman Jon Merrill north to Montreal in exchange for Hayden Verbeek.  Verbeek is a low-end prospect and nephew to former Detroit Red Wing and current assistant general manager Pat Verbeek.

Yzerman also secured Ottawa’s fifth-round pick in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.

Merrill played exceptionally well during his short stint with Detroit.  He appeared in 36 games and totaled five assists but averaged nearly 20 minutes of ice time.

Merrill signed a one-year deal worth a mere $925,000 this past offseason and will hit the open market once again this summer.

The 29-year old defender appeared in 13 regular-season games with Montreal after being traded but failed to register a point.  He’s appeared in five playoff games this postseason, averaging just under 14 minutes of ice-time per evening.