The Washington Capitals surprisingly claimed defenseman Dennis Cholowski off waivers from the expansion Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
Cholowski was the Kraken’s Expansion Draft selection from the Detroit Red Wings and at one time played with past and now current teammates, Anthony Mantha and Nick Jensen, in Detroit.
Mantha and Jensen spoke about the Capitals’ new addition at practice on Friday.
“Great offensive-minded defenseman,” Mantha said when asked what the Caps were getting in Cholowski. “Obviously, he can make great plays in the O-zone. I know he was working hard on his D-zone aspect. Maybe over here a different style of play it’s gonna be great. He’s a great kid. He’s a former first-round pick so he has a lot of skills and as a person, he’s a great person, so I got just good things to say about him.”
Cholowski was a first-round pick by Detroit in 2016. The 23-year-old, left-shooting, puck-moving defenseman has 27 points (10g, 17a) in 104 career games.
“Just as a player, really poised with the puck, sees the ice really well,” Jensen said. “He’ll be able to make a lot of great plays, he’s a really good puck mover anywhere in all zones. D-zone, neutral zone, offensive zone, he knows where he’s going with the puck at all times. He’s never guessing, he’s never making hope plays. I think he sees the ice really well. That’s one of his top qualities. He’s just a pretty smart, skilled player. Off the ice, he’s a really nice person, quiet demeanor, pretty similar to myself in that sense. He’s a good guy.”
Cholowski’s arrival to DC makes him the fourth lefty defensemen on the current roster, joining Dmitry Orlov, Martin Fehervary, and Matt Irwin. Trevor van Riemsdyk is right-handed but currently playing on the left side.
“Right now, the six that played were really good,” Laviolette said of his defense group. “But it is to have him come in and join our team and see how it plays out. Again, this is a young defenseman, a high pick that has a good skill level.”
Laviolette believes Cholowski can grow under Capitals assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, who works with the team’s defense.
“Kevin McCarthy is really good,” Laviolette said. “One of his strengths is to be able to bring players into a good environment and teach. When the player leaves and sometimes you go into the coach’s office and you teach, that player might not be feeling good about themselves or their game. He just has a way of just settling it down and the way he shows it, the way he teaches it. He’s been in the game a lot of years and a real good defenseman. He has a way of imparting his knowledge to others on how to play the game and he does it in a very positive environment. I think it’ll be a good fit for Kevin to try and work with him and help him. See if we can get him to be a part of the group.”
Cholowski skated with the team for the first time at Saturday’s morning skate. He was on the team’s fourth pairing as an extra with Matt Irwin.
— Kevin McNelis (@KMackSports) October 16, 2021
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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