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New York Islanders

Analysis of Cholowski’s Game, More Questions Than Answers



Dennis Cholowski, New York Islanders

On Tuesday, the New York Islanders signed 24-year-old defenseman Dennis Cholowski to a two-year, two-way contract. The New York Islanders are still searching for a sixth defenseman and now could add the newcomer’s name to the hat.

He is left-handed, just for your information.

A former first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in 2016, Dennis Cholowski has truly struggled to develop. He does have a connection to Long Island now, as his former assistant coach Doug Houda joined the New York Islanders coaching staff earlier this offseason.

It’s the likely reason why the Islanders offered and signed Cholowski.

Over his four-year NHL career, Cholowski has not played much, with just 115 games under his belt. The 20th overall pick in 2016 (one spot before Kieffer Bellows) has 10 goals and 20 assists to his name in 2021-22, but was a mess defensively on a struggling Detroit Red Wings team.

He did show off his shot and offensive upside from time to time.

Following his first three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (103 GP), he was not protected during the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft and was taken.

He never played a game for Seattle, finding his way onto waivers where the Washington Capitals scooped him up for seven games before he was back on waivers…and back with Seattle.

What was wrong with Cholowski’s game, because you don’t get picked in an expansion draft and waived twice all in one season because you have a lot to offer.

Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now shared a little about Cholowski and how he had a disastrous debut with the Capitals.

“Good skater, capable of moving the puck. He needs<span to get stronger and find consistency to make it as an NHL defenseman,” Silber shared. “He needs to improve in his own zone.”

“He spent most of his time in DC as a scratch. He was not very well remembered.”

His debut for the Capitals came in a game against the Kraken on Nov. 21, where he was not very good. It did not help that he had been a scratch for the previous 17 games and was only in the lineup because Connor Sheary got hurt in warmups.

“Cholowski managed two blocked shots and was a minus-2. He also had a costly turnover that led to a Calle Jarnkrok goal that ultimately put the Kraken up 4-1 in the second,” Silber said. “Washington ultimately fell 5-2. He p<span st looked like he was struggling to get back into game rhythm.”

“He hadn’t played in a bit, and it showed with the turnover, positioning mistakes, etc.”

For the New York Islanders, at the very least, Cholowski becomes added competition for Robin Salo and Sebastian Aho. You can never have too much of that, especially at training camp when the pressure is on, each and every time you hit the ice to prove something to management.

At 24 years old, this is likely Cholowski’s last two years to make something of himself in the NHL.