The Capitals have claimed Seattle defenseman Dennis Cholowski off waivers, it was announced Thursday. In a corresponding move, Beck Malenstyn was reassigned to Hershey.
Cholowski, 23, was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft from the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit selected him in the first round, 20th overall, in the 2016 draft. He is a left-shot defenseman who stands at 6-foot-2, 197 pounds and has played in 104 career NHL games with 10 goals and 17 assists. He split time between the NHL and AHL last season with 16 games for the Red Wings and 13 games for Grand Rapids.
By placing Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injured reserve, the Caps have something they have not had in several years: cap flexibility. It is temporary as when Backstrom returns, the team will have to get under the cap again, but for now, they can afford to experiment with players like Cholowski.
Cholowski's contract is a one-year deal with a cap hit of $900,000.
The Caps were at the 23-player maximum prior to claiming Cholowski which is why Malenstyn was reassigned. Fans should expect to see him get into a game in the near future.
Since the Caps claimed Cholowshi, he did not technically pass through waivers and would still have to clear to be reassigned. That means the Caps will have to keep him at the NHL level or put him right back on waivers to reassign him which would allow any team, including Seattle, to take him. Perhaps he will ultimately go on waivers again, but it is doubtful the Caps make this move without the intention of seeing what he can do at the NHL level first.