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Dennis Cholowski Signs with Detroit Red Wings

2016 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images

St. Cloud State freshman defenseman Dennis Cholowski has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Detroit Red Wings, ending his collegiate eligibility.

Cholowski was a first round draft pick of the Red Wings last summer, going 20th overall, and becoming the first St. Cloud State player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.

In 36 games with the Huskies as a freshman, Cholowski tallied one goal and 11 assists for 12 points. Cholowski showed a lot of promise as a smooth-skating two-way defenseman, but seeing him sign after one season is still a bit of a surprise.

We had Cholowski ranked as the 20th-best NHL prospect in the NCAA this past season:

It’s easy to understand why the Detroit Red Wings were interested enough in Cholowski to select him in the first round of last year’s NHL Draft. The tall 6’2” defender is a remarkably smooth, graceful skater.

The Red Wings drafted him with the understanding that he would be a bit of a project, and that is still the case. Cholowski has room to add a lot of muscle, which would help make him a more effective defender and improve an unimpressive shot.

But once he gets a little stronger, and develops the confidence to be aggressive in attacking up the ice with his tremendous skating ability, he has the raw potential to be a game-changing defenseman at the college level and a very solid second pairing defenseman at the NHL level.