Seattle Kraken select D Cholowski from Red Wings

Detroit loses 23-year-old defenseman in expansion draft

Dennis Cholowski of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Vancouver Canucks at Little Caesars Arena on November 06, 2018 in Detroit. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Dennis Cholowski is headed to the Seattle Kraken.

SportNet’s Mark Spector was first to report the 23-year-old Detroit Red Wings defenseman, who became a restricted free agent at the end of this past season, is Seattle’s expansion draft pick from Detroit.

Spector reported the Kraken were unable to reach Cholowski for much of the day.

Cholowski was drafted in the first round of 2016, 20th overall. He played 52 games with the Red Wings in 2018-19, scoring 7 goals and 9 assists. He has struggled to maintain a spot on Detroit’s roster since, splitting time between the Red Wings and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Cholowski is a native of British Columbia, meaning he’s headed closer to home in this move to Seattle.

The expansion draft is scheduled to take place 8 p.m. Wednesday, but the picks were finalized in the morning and started to get leaked out almost immediately.

Nearly every NHL team’s pick was leaked by reporters as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, minus the one and only Red Wings. It’s not surprising that Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings was the team whose pick took longer to be leaked. Yzerman has been known to keep a good lid on this kind of information.

Meanwhile, any trades that Seattle has made will not be leaked before the actual draft event Wednesday night. The 2017 Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft included 10 trades.

The Kraken have to choose 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. Twenty of those players must be under contract currently.

  • The expansion draft will be broadcast on at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, SN NOW, TVAS).

Leaked Seattle picks

Here’s what has been leaked so far -- none of this is final until the actual draft picks are officially announced Wednesday night:

Anaheim: D Haydn Fleury (source)

Arizona: F Tyler Pitlick (source)

Boston: D Jeremy Lauzon (source)

Buffalo: D Will Borgen (source)

Calgary: D Mark Giordano (source)

Carolina: F Morgan Geekie (source)

Chicago: F John Quenneville (source)

Colorado: F Joonas Donskoi (source)

Columbus: D Gavin Bayreuther (source)

Dallas: D Jamie Oleksiak (source)

Detroit: D Dennis Cholowski (source)

Edmonton: D Adam Larsson (source)

Florida: G Chris Driedger (source)

Los Angeles: D Kurtis MacDermid (source)

Minnesota: D Carson Soucy (source)

Montreal: D Cale Fleury (source)

Nashville: F Calle Jarnkrok (source)

New Jersey: F Nathan Bastian (source)

New York Islanders: F Jordan Eberle (source)

New York Rangers: F Colin Blackwell (source)

Ottawa: G Joey Daccord (source)

Philadelphia: F Carsen Twarynski (source)

Pittsburgh: F Brandon Tanev (source)

San Jose: F Alexander True (source)

St. Louis: D Vince Dunn (source)

Tampa Bay: F Yanni Gourde (source)

Toronto: F Jared McCann (source)

Vancouver: F Kole Lind (source)

Washington: G Vitek Vanecek (source)

Winnipeg: F Mason Appleton (source)

The Red Wings are protecting the following players:

Notable Red Wings left exposed:

D Troy Stecher

Defenseman Troy Stecher appeared to be ripe for Seattle’s picking. With one year left on his contract he costs just $1.7 million against the cap. He’s only 27 years old.

Stecher signed a two-year deal with Detroit in October 2020. He immediately helped improve the Red Wings defense with his quickness and skilled puck-moving ability. He also is coming off of a really strong international tournament for Canada. He could have helped the Kraken form their top six, perhaps their top four.

F Vladislav Namestnikov

Vladislav Namestnikov, 28, also first signed with Detroit in October -- a two-year deal with a $2 million cap hit each season. This season was a bit of a struggle for him with just 8 goals and 9 assists through 53 games played. But he was part of a team that struggled to find offense from, well, everyone. Namestnikov could slide into another team’s top nine to play either the wing or center.

D Dennis Cholowski

I considered Dennis Cholowski a long shot for Seattle to pick, but if they are looking for a younger defenseman with size and potential then Cholowski is a good option. He’s just 23 years young but already has 104 NHL games on his resume.

Cholowski was drafted 20th overall in 2016.

F Evgeni Svechnikov

Evgeni Svechnikov, 24, has battled through injuries in his young NHL career. He finally cracked Detroit’s lineup this past season, appearing in 21 games for 3 goals and 5 assists. The 19th overall pick in 2015 is also a restricted free agent now.

F Frans Nielsen

Let’s imagine Seattle was somehow desperate to get 20 players that are under contract, then Nielsen fit the bill. The 37-year-old center/winger has a year left on his contract at $5.25 against the cap. His performance has declined quite dramatically over the past couple of seasons. He’s not the solid two-way center he once was.

The full list of unprotected Red Wings can be found here.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.