Welcome to the NHL, Xavier Ouellet

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Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet will make his NHL debut tonight at Joe Louis Arena versus San Jose; the 20-year-old will replace d-man Jonathan Ericsson, who’s reportedly dealing with a minor shoulder injury and, more significantly, whose wife went into labor last night.

Detroit will also be without defenseman Niklas Kronwall (concussion) against the Sharks, though he apparently expects to play Wednesday versus Ottawa.

Ouellet was a second-round pick in 2011; expect him to be paired with 24-year-old Brendan Smith tonight.

When healthy, Ericsson and Kronwall play the most of any Detroit players. Which is to say, the Wings could have their hands full against a very potent Sharks team.