Octopus Reveals Kraken’s Choice of Red Wings’ Dennis Cholowski in Expansion Draft
The Detroit Red Wings lost Dennis Cholowski in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft on July 21, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Dennis Cholowski’s potential as an NHL player does not follow Detroit Red Wings as the Seattle Kraken selected the young defender in the expansion draft.
The draft No. 20 in 2016, Cholowski was billed as a gifted skater with an excellent shot and an ability to pass. But for all the chances and all the encouragement Wings gave Cholowski, he could not lock a place in the lineup on a team that was desperate for skilled blue liners. His attraction, however, was the one shot by right-back Troy Stecher, who was also on the list of players that the Wings made available to the NHL’s 32nd team.
The election was announced during Wednesday night’s televised draft show on ESPN2. It was an anticlimactic event when name after name from the 30 teams from which Kraken chose their list leaked on Twitter in the afternoon. The octopus was not deterred from playing the entertainment angle: it was an octopus named Licorice from the Seattle Aquarium that revealed Cholowski’s name.
Every team except the 2017 expansion Vegas had to submit lists Saturday with protected and available players.
Wings protected attackers Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Robby Fabbri, Adam Erne and Givani Smith; goalkeeper Thomas Greiss and defenders Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom and newcomer Nick Leddy. (First- and second-year professionals like Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno were excluded.)
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Hronek was a lock to be protected, and there was room for Lindstrom, 22, and Cholowski, 23, until general manager Steve Yzerman traded for Leddy on July 16th. Lindstrom plays a safe, smart game, but he does not have the offensive flash Cholowski possesses.
Cholowski appeared in 16 games this season and recorded three points. In 13 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, he produced three goals and seven assists. Cholowski had 10 goals and 27 points in 104 career games with the Wings.
Stecher had 11 points and a minus-13 rating in 44 games in his first season with the Wings. He has signed through next season with a hit salary of 1.7 million. With the selection of the first round in 2019, Moritz Seider ready to join the lineup this fall, the Wings will have four right-handed defenders in Seider, Hronek, Lindstrom and Stecher.
Cholowski’s lack of development has disappointed the Wings, but exposing him could backfire. He is an NHL caliber defender, and Kraken clearly believes he can still show up as such.
Contact Helene St. James at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more about Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personal copies are available via her email.