Having not developed into the potential the Detroit Red Wings once saw in him, Dennis Cholowski has been exposed in the NHL expansion draft

The newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken will be selecting the franchise’s inaugural roster the Wednesday. There are some big named players the Kraken could draft as well as players that simply for one reason or another did not pan out for the organizations that drafted them. Like Detroit Red Wings defensemen Dennis Cholowski whom Detroit has made available for the expansion draft.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Dennis Cholowski #21 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck against the Dallas Stars during an NHL, home opening night game at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Dallas 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings former first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski was selected in 2016 by former Red Wings GM, Ken Holland. Holland and the then Red Wings scouting department really liked Cholowski’s mobility and offensive ability. Yet, oddly enough it has been his deficiencies defensively that have held the 23 year old from grabbing a roster spot full-time.

Dennis Cholowski’s Detroit Red Wings career has been earmarked by inconsistencies defending. He has been brought up to Detroit and sent down to the minor leagues multiple times. At times Cholowski has looked like he was on the verge of a breakthrough only to fall back on old habits, leading to a yo-yo career that has landed him on the unprotected list for the Seattle Kraken to select from.

It would seem that Red Wings General Manager, Steve Yzerman is all but done with Cholowski. On past send downs Yzerman has said that he had given Cholowski a list of things he wanted to focus on while being sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Seattle Kraken #2 overall draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Reports would say that Cholowski had cleaned up areas of his game only to be recalled by the Red Wings and fall back into unproductive ways. It is safe to say that Yzerman grew tired of the lack of development and has chosen to move on.

That means if the Kraken do not draft Dennis Cholowski it is very possible Yzerman could choose to place him on waivers for another team to claim. Detroit could also package Cholowski in a trade.

No matter what happens, it is very possible Dennis Cholowski is no longer part of the Detroit Red Wings organization moving forward.



Detroit Red Wings Dennis Cholowski showing improvement

Embed from Getty Images When his reckless handling of the puck resulted in being pulled from the lineup last season. Detroit Red Wings defensive player Dennis Cholowski was sent to Grand Rapids to work on his game with the Griffins. Cholowski made the 2019-20 Red Wings roster as so far, he has demonstrated better decision-making and earned the trust of coaches and teammates to remain in the  lineup.

“He’s done a really good job of managing his game and a really good job of not giving up easy chances,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s the area where his growth has been the best, is understanding when to try to make a play, understanding when to back off. Understanding when to punt sometimes you just have to put it to a safe area, and I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s been harder in his defense, both in zone and on the rush.”

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Cholowski at 20th overall in 2016. His skating and offensive abilities were a large part of the appeal to the Red Wings. “I’m more calm, more relaxed,” Cholowski told Detroit media. “Better in the D-zone, winning more of my battles now. They know they can rely on me in more situations now. I have it in my head to relax and not be too frantic.”

Dennis Cholowski now has a coveted spot on the team’s first power play unit,  with Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Taro Hirose. Cholowski said he just wants to contribute however he can to make the team and the power-play unit better.

Viewed as a player who can help the Detroit blueline, Cholowski is now beginning to live to live up to his scouting report. He is a fast, smooth skating defensive player. Dennis is a strong two-way defender, while offensively he moves the puck very well, with a strong first pass out of the zone to get the transition game started.

Dennis Cholowski is a very smart defender. This season Cholowski seems to always be in the right position. Keeping attackers to the outside, while keeping himself between the puck and the net at all times. Cholowski maintains good gap control as well.

This is good for a Red Wings team struggling with older defensive players.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dennis Cholowski looks to improve and stick in Detroit

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.

Detroit Red Wings: prospect Dennis Cholowski

Embed from Getty Images The 2016 NHL draft saw the Detroit Red Wings draft defensemen Dennis Cholowski, and Wings fans were upset. But look at him now.

Defense in the NHL is the toughest position to learn in sports. Point blank. In fact it can be downright brutal on prospects. Dennis has risen to transform his game into first line defenseman.
Heading in to the 2017-18 training camp Dennis Cholowski, nearly made the team. He was seen as a second line defenseman when he was drafted. But, he has worked hard, grown 2” (he was 6’ 0” when he was drafted) and put on muscle.
He’s fast. He will more that likely quarterback the Red Wings first line power play. He is my favorite Detroit Red Wings prospect now that fellow defenseman Joe Hicketts is in Motown. Detroit, has the making of good solid young defense headed it’s way.
With his skill set and hard work Cholowski will be a part of the Wings defensive unit for a long time. He is a high end player.
I expect Dennis to arrive in Detroit next season. He is sure to become a fan favorite in a hurry. His hustle and big hitting is sure to go over well with Red Wing faithful.