The Seattle Kraken have lost one of their expansion picks to waivers, as Dennis Cholowski has been claimed by the Washington Capitals according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. To make room on the roster, the team has loaned Beck Malenstyn back to the AHL.
This is exactly the risk that we discussed earlier this summer, as the Kraken had collected almost a dozen defensemen who all required waivers to go to the minor leagues. While they managed to get several through in the preseason, Cholowski is now lost just a few months after being selected from the Detroit Red Wings in the Seattle expansion draft. He did not play for the team in the opener after Jamie Oleksiak was cleared from the COVID protocol at the last minute, and will now head to Washington where it’s nearly as crowded on the back end.
The Capitals used all six of their defensemen last night for at least 16:50, with Justin Schultz being the lowest on that pole but contributing a goal and six shots to the effort. Matt Irwin, who was serving as the team’s seventh defenseman, seems likely to be the odd man out when their newest player arrives. That doesn’t mean the 23-year-old Cholowski is in line for big minutes though, he’ll have to prove that his poor results in Detroit were more because of the team around him than his own shortcomings.
But he’s also a 2016 first-round pick that has over 100 games at the NHL level already, something that’s certainly worth another look for a team that can afford it. Roster spots are thin around the league, but given that Malenstyn can be moved down without issue and Irwin might even clear waivers if needed, the Capitals could take a chance. If they ever want to place Cholowski back on waivers and send him down, the Kraken would have a chance to reclaim him.