The Seattle Kraken have reached a contract with Dennis Cholowski, signing him to a one-year, two-way deal. Interestingly enough, the contract will carry an NHL salary of $900K, more than most two-way deals pay.
Kraken GM Ron Francis released a short statement
Dennis is a young defenseman with offensive upside that we were excited to add to our group. We like his strong skating and puck moving ability and are looking forward to working with him.
The 23-year-old Cholowski was the 20th overall pick in 2016, but has just 104 NHL games to his name at this point. He played 52 as a rookie in 2018-19, but was unable to establish himself as a full-time member of the Detroit Red Wings in either of the last two years. In 2020-21, he played just 16 games with Detroit, recording three points.
That high NHL salary–$150K more than the NHL minimum–may actually be built in to give the Kraken some extra waiver protection. If the team wants to send Cholowski down, which seems likely given how many other NHL defensemen they have under contract, he’ll have to clear waivers for the first time in his career. A $900K salary will only help him do that, given the tight cap situation of so many other teams.
It’s a long, talented depth chart on defense for the Kraken, meaning the young Cholowski will have quite a challenge if he wants to break camp with the team. Still, an expansion franchise is exactly the kind of team where talented-but-underperforming players like him could reach the next level. He will still be a restricted free agent next offseason.