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By the Numbers Prospects: Dennis Cholowski

Young defenseman seeks defensive consistency

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2018-19 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. Twice a week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on defenseman Dennis Cholowski.

There has never been any doubt about Dennis Cholowski's offensive ability.

The young defenseman has always put up pretty good numbers, no matter what level he has played.

The challenge for Cholowski is matching that offensive ability with defensive strength at the other end.

However, learning to be a defensive stalwart is not an easy task at the NHL level, which is why Cholowski has split time between the Red Wings and the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins the last couple of seasons.

Video: DET@ANA: Cholowski snaps home overtime winnner

Part of that development as a young player is gaining strength to be able to contend with some of the well-established NHL players.

Cholowski has spent the last few summers in Detroit doing just that, working out with some of his teammates at Barwis Performance Centers.

He has gone from being a skinny kid when he was drafted in 2016 to a solid 197-pound 22-year-old.

With the trade of Mike Green to Edmonton, there is an opportunity for an offensive defenseman to run the power play on the Red Wings.

If Cholowski can continue to put up points while becoming a more steady presence in his own end, he could make a good case to make the Wings out of training camp next season.

36 - Cholowski played in 36 games with the Red Wings, the last on March 2 against the Colorado Avalanche, a 2-1 home loss.

2 - The young defenseman had two goals for Detroit, the overtime winner Nov. 12 at Anaheim and a power-play tally at home against the Vancouver Canucks, his childhood team, on Oct. 22.

Video: VAN@DET: Cholowski nets power-play goal on key bounce

6 - In his 36 games, Cholowski had eight assists.

5 - Cholowski was among Detroit's leaders in power-play points, tied with Valtteri Filppula with five. Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi led the team with 14 apiece, Filip Hronek had 10, Anthony Mantha and Robby Fabbri were tied with nine apiece and Filip Zadina had seven.

27:14 - In that overtime game in Anaheim, Cholowski played a career-high 27:14, the most for any player in the game.

-26 - Like many Wings this past season, Cholowski was on the negative side in terms of plus-minus at minus-26. The previous season he was minus-20 in 52 games.

30 - Cholowski skated in 30 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the last on March 7 at home against the Rockford IceHogs.

3 - In his 30 games, Cholowski recorded three goals - Jan. 11 in a 6-2 win over the Manitoba Moose, a power-play goal Jan. 18 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Belleville Senators and Feb. 18 in a 2-1 victory at Rockford.

Tweet from @FOX17Zach: The @DetroitRedWings first rounders making an impact for @griffinshockey tonight!Joe Veleno ������ Dennis CholowskiMichael Rasmussen 🚨Mo Seider 🚨The Griffs are on a three game winning streak after the 6-2 victory over Manitoba! 👀

10 - Cholowski also had 10 helpers with the Griffins, including two in a 5-2 victory at the Chicago Wolves on Feb. 15, his 22nd birthday.

-15 - Cholowski was minus-15 with the Griffins in 30 games after being even in 25 games during the 2018-19 season.

Quotable: "Dennis, I think the one area he needs to improve on and we've been clear with him in that and he knows this is his defensive game. He needs to be a guy … very few players in the league just rely on strictly offense, very, very few, especially defensive players. Dennis needs to be a player that the coaches can put out there in important situations and know that he's going to be able to play against other teams' top lines and top players and not be a liability defensively. Dennis, he's another one of those guys that was brought up as a very offensive defenseman and wasn't really taught, I guess, the details of defending and he's going through that process right now. He's learning it. To his credit, he's spent the last couple summers, the last three summers actually, in Detroit and has put on a ton of strength so physically, I think he's there, now he's just learning the details and the small intangibles that it takes in order to defend at the National Hockey League level. But Dennis is another one, we still believe in Dennis. It's just a process to make the NHL, it's not an easy one and he's paying his dues right now and doing a good job of it." - Shawn Horcoff, director of player development and assistant director of player personnel

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