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‘It’s Been A Whirlwind’: Cholowski Ready For Opportunity On Next Stop With Capitals

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite still running on west coast time, Dennis Cholowski is wide awake at the Washington Capitals morning skate. He’s composed and relaxed as he describes his excitement to join his new team — but “relaxed” is far from what the last 48 hours — and last few months overall — have been like for him.

First, the 2016 first-rounder saw his entire career path change on July 21. After years of developing with the Detroit Red Wings, Cholowski was taken by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. He then inked a one-year, two-way deal with the team, but after training camp, Seattle placed him on waivers. The Capitals then pounced on the opportunity to pick up the puck-moving blueliner, leading Cholowski to pack up yet again, get on a cross-country flight to D.C., explore the city for a bit then get to sleep as soon as possible to wake up in time for his first practice with his third team in the last four months.

“It’s been a whirlwind for me, that’s for sure,” Cholowski shared candidly. “I haven’t really moved as much as I have in the last few years, so it’s fun. You get to see a lot of different places.”

In a total of 104 games with Detroit, Cholowski has 10 goals and 27 points and was a minus-47. The 23-year-old also played in 69 games with the team’s AHL-affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins, dishing 29 points. He’s a strong skater and good puck carrier, something that head coach Peter Laviolette wants to see on the blue line.

“[I’m an] offensive d-man, kind of a two-way, I guess,” Cholowski explained. “Try to be up in the play whenever I can and then be responsible defensively as well.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Capitals Sticking With What Worked, Cholowski Takes Ice As Team Readies For Bolts

Still getting to know most of his teammates, Cholowski has been able to see a couple of familiar faces in former Red Wings Anthony Mantha and Nick Jensen. He was also technically Vitek Vanecek’s teammate for a week in Seattle, but the two didn’t cross paths.

Martin Fehervary got the chance to say hi to his new teammate and believes Cholowski will fit in well and bond with the team both on and off the ice.

“I think we got good group of guys and we are all family,” Fehervary said. “So I mean, it’s gonna be different [but] we’re regular guys.”

It was only a morning skate, but Cholowski did get a taste of Washington’s systems while skating on an extra pairing with Matt Irwin. He will be a healthy scratch Saturday against Tampa.

Cholowski also said he’s looking forward to joining a new organization that’s been a consistent contender. He has yet to make a Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance in his career, as Detroit hasn’t qualified since 2015-16.

“It’s exciting,” Cholowski said. “I mean, obviously, this team is established and you know, it’s been top of the league for 10-plus years so it’s really exciting to be here for sure.

“It was good [to be out there],” he added. “Obviously there’s some great players here too, so that was pretty cool to be out there and skate with them.”

There’s not currently a set plan for Cholowski with the Capitals, though Peter Laviolette said that the team will continue to introduce him to their playing style and work with him while taking the time to see where he fits in with the organization as a whole.

In the end, Cholowski’s ready to make a strong impression and is maintaining a positive mentality after a long summer.

“[I’ll] just be ready whenever I get a chance really, just be yourself. I guess all you can really do whether it’s whatever team it is and now it’s here. I’m just going to play my game and just worry about what I’m doing.”
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