Coming off a dominant 5-1 victory in their season opener against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals decided to make another addition to the roster. They claimed blueliner Dennis Cholowski off waivers from the Seattle Kraken. In the meantime, Washington loaned forward Beck Malenstyn down to the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
Cholowski had been a part of the Detroit Red Wings’ depth chart over the last few seasons. In 104 total games with Detroit, he has 10 goals and 27 points. He also laced ’em up for 69 games with the team’s AHL-affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins, dishing 35 points in 69 games. Last year, he had a goal and three points in 16 games with the Red Wings and also racked up 10 points in 13 games with the Griffins.
Seattle took Cholowski with their pick from Detroit in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft in July. He inked a one-year, two-way deal with the Kraken in September and was designed as injured non-roster before being placed on waivers on Wednesday.
The 6-2, 197-pound blueliner is a puck-moving, left-handed blueliner who’s a strong skater and a talented puck carrier. He’s unafraid to join the rush and can make a difference at both ends of the ice, especially on the forecheck. There are still several aspects of his game that he needs to build on but the 2016 first-rounder has plenty of upside.
He’s a solid pickup for the Capitals, who continue to build depth on the left side and welcome more reinforcements. Michal Kempny appeared ready to come back to full-time NHL duty this season for Washington, but he’s still working to get his game back up to NHL speed. Kempny is coming off three injuries and two major surgeries to his left leg over the last couple of years and needs to get more ice time in with Hershey. Meanwhile, Trevor van Riemsdyk is playing on his offside as the team’s third-pair LHD. After that, Matt Irwin, who spent a long time working with head coach Peter Laviolette in Nashville, is the extra defenseman.
Cholowski played with Anthony Mantha in Detroit. He was also technically teammates with Vitek Vanecek for a week when the Capitals netminder was also drafted by the Kraken. Seattle dealt Vanecek back to D.C. after signing goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
It’s unclear where Cholowski will draw in, but it’s certainly a positive for Washington. The Capitals’ defensive pairings against the Rangers looked strong, especially the Martin Fehervary-John Carlson tandem. Ultimately, this move provides the team with more options, insurance and overall depth.