Embed from Getty Images Last season nothing came easy for Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman Dennis Cholowski. After a solid start to the 2018-19 NHL season, Cholowski’s play had slipped a lot. Hot on his tail was another Red Wings rookie defender, Filip Hronek who overcame his own shortcomings and earned more playing time. Dennis Cholowski found himself demoted to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings 2016 first-round draft pick, Cholowski, is viewed as a player who if he can stay mentally strong has another chance to make the Detroit roster out of training camp. That will be a tough road given the veteran depth at the defensive position.
Dennis Cholowski must show up and compete hard to avoid being disappointed again. Dennis said he has spoke with Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman about his expectations for the young defensive player.
“It’s really just being more responsible, having the coach’s trust to be able to put me out and know that I’m not going to get scored on, that I can box guys out, that I can kill plays in the D-zone,” Dennis Cholowski told reporters. “If I can come in and do that, and then let my offensive side take over, I think I’ll be OK.”
Steve Yzerman has said he wants to see players earn their spots and that “the most competitive kids are going to make our team better.” Last season Cholowski’s mistakes outweighed his solid contributions to the team. At Christmas, Cholowski had 14 points in 36 games and was a team worst minus 11. From Christmas until Feb. 10, Cholowski had one goal and one assist in 16 games, and was a team worst minus 9, a strong sign his defensive play was not where it should be.
Being mentally strong, being smart with the puck, being smarter with passes, will help Cholowski’s game improve. Consistent playing time will earn trust with coach’s and the general manager.