DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned defenseman Dennis Cholowski to the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars.
After reducing their roster by 12 on Monday, the Red Wings’ roster currently stands at 47 players: 27 forwards, 15 defensemen and five goaltenders. The Red Wings will continue a four-game preseason homestand by hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before wrapping up the preseason on the road against the Maple Leafs on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Cholowski looked very impressive in the preseason for the Red Wings. He's put on heft since being drafted, but his mobility has remained. Not a lot of board battling for him against the NHL hopefuls, but what I saw is that he's been very good at picking the puck out of the skates of others tied up along the dasher and coming away not only with clean possession but also momentum carrying him clear of the scrum.
Another area I've liked from Cholowski include how well he manages both gaps and angles on rushing players. He angles guys off quietly with his stick in the right position, but can turn and keep the inside when faced with a burner coming his way too. Although he didn't put up much for offense, his instincts and mobility along the offensive blue line showed good promise.
In terms of this move, it would have been wishful thinking to expect he had a real shot of staying up on Detroit's packed blue line, but the Wings were not required to send him to the WHL, holding the AHL option due to Cholowski not joining the WHL until after he was drafted and after going the NCAA route his first post-draft year. Cholowski will get a chance to further refine his game against age peers and should be looking to tear up the WHL this season before rejoining Grand Rapids after that season ends.