The first answer to the initial question Xavier Ouellet fielded Monday morning prior to his NHL debut should please Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

“I’m a defenseman who the coaches can trust’’ Ouellet said.

That’s good because that isn’t always the case with young defensemen especially in their first game particularly against the top team in the NHL the San Jose Sharks.

Ouellet 20 was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins because Jonathan Ericsson isn’t available tonight. His wife expecting the couple’s first child went into labor Sunday night Babcock said.

Niklas Kronwall will sit out for the second game in a row due to a mild concussion leaving the Red Wings without their top defense pairing.

Ouellet the Red Wings’ second pick in the 2011 draft (48th overall) was the Quebec Major Junior League’s defenseman of the year with Blainville-Boisbriand Armada last season. He has appeared in five games with the Griffins this season his first year as a pro.

At 6-foot and 187 pounds he is a mobile puck-moving defenseman who had an impressive training camp and looked good in five preseason games.