DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today agreed to terms with defenseman Dennis Cholowski on a three-year entry-level contract.
Cholowski was Detroit’s first choice (20th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and played 36 games as a freshman at St. Cloud State University, totaling 12 points (1-11-12) and 14 penalty minutes. The 19-year-old defenseman was one of the youngest to compete in the NCAA this season, ranking fourth in points among 1998-born defensemen. Prior to his freshman campaign, Cholowski spent two seasons with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League. In 2015-16, he led his club’s defensemen and finished fifth among BCHL blueliners with 40 points (12-28-40) in 50 games and led the league in postseason scoring by a defenseman with 15 points (4-11-15) in 20 games. The 2016 Second-Team BCHL All-Star totaled 67 points (16-51-67) and 20 penalty minutes in 106 games with Chilliwack from 2013-16.
A native of Langley, British Columbia, Cholowski captured a gold medal with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in 2015-16, picking up two assists in four games. The 6-foot-1, 185-lb., defenseman spent the 2013-14 season at the Yale Hockey Academy before joining the BCHL, producing 16 points (1-15-16) in 17 games and helping the team to a CSSHL (Canadian Sport School Hockey League) championship.
Just like Dylan Larkin did, Cholowski will lose his NCAA eligibility by signing a professional contract (which goes into effect starting next season). He’ll almost certainly start next season in Grand Rapids as he learns to use his smarts against bigger and faster players in the AHL. The good news about this is that since he signed at age 19, if he doesn’t play 10 NHL games next season, his entry-level deal will “slide” and be automatically extended by a year.