Detroit re-signs Ouellet — two years, $2.5 million

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Defenseman Xavier Ouellet has inked a two-year, $2.5 million extension with the Red Wings, per TVA.

Ouellet, 23, made a significant leap last season, posting career highs in games played (66) and points (12). It also marked the first time in his professional career he played only at the NHL level, after spending the previous three seasons shuttling between Detroit and AHL Grand Rapids.

The 48th overall pick in 2011, Ouellet has become a steady, dependable defenseman for the Wings. That development is partly why GM Ken Holland was able to move on from the likes of Alexey Marchenko and Brendan Smith last year.

Ouellet could fill an even larger role next season. Veteran blueliners Niklas Kronwall (knee) and Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) are coming off injury-plagued campaigns, and may need reduced minutes.