Xavier Ouellet was impressive during the exhibition season.

Monday he got a chance when it counts.

With Jonathan Ericsson not playing — his wife had their first child — and Niklas Kronwall recovering from a concussion Ouellet was in the lineup as the Red Wings hosted the Sharks.

“It’ll be a challenge to keep my emotions” said Ouellet a 2011 second-round pick who has played five games in Grand Rapids. “I just want to concentrate on making the right plays and playing a good game.

“I’m a defenseman who coaches can trust.”

Ouellet played 17 minutes 15 seconds on 23 shifts with one shot on net and one hit.

“He was real good he was steady” coach Mike Babcock said. “Those young defensemen did a good job for Howie (goalie Jimmy Howard). They didn’t give up anything.”

Babcock liked what he saw from Ouellet and defenseman Ryan Sproul during camp and believed both were close to playing in the NHL.

Ouellet was first up.

“He’s a really good young player” Babcock said “He makes good decisions. He just has to get quicker and that comes with experience and we think he’ll do it.”
Kronwall doing well

Kronwall could return as early as Wednesday against Ottawa.

Kronwall skated Monday morning and continues to have no symptoms stemming from his check into the boards last week in Denver.

“I’ve talked to several people who say (concussion symptoms) can take a few days to kick in but so far I feel good” Kronwall said. “So far I’ve felt real good from Day 1.

“I’m sure there still tests to take. (But) it felt good to be back on the ice with the guys and looking forward to playing Wednesday.”