Red Wings’ Development Camp Continues for 2016 Draft Picks

TRAVERSE CITY – Though their immediate future with the Detroit Red Wings is still uncertain, 2016 draft picks Dennis Cholowski and Givani Smith are already making quite the impression at the organization’s annual development camp at Traverse City’s Centre Ice Arena this week.

A defenseman, Cholowski was selected 20th overall from the British Columbia Hockey League’s Chilliwack Chiefs.

Committed to play for St. Cloud State (Minn.) next season, Cholowski scored 40 points on 12 goals and 28 assists for the Chiefs in 2015-16.

"It’s so exciting for me and my family, getting to meet everybody and obviously going in the first round,” Cholowski said. “Still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it, you know, it’s extremely exciting and now I’m here."

Drafted 46th overall in the second round, Smith scored 42 points on 23 goals and 19 assists in 65 games during his 2015-16 campaign with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm.

“I’m taking every step little by little,” Smith said. “It’s the first development camp, so, you know, I’m taking what they have and slowly improving over the summer and I’ll be back here next year to be better than I was before."

Leading much of the camp’s activities is Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson. The second-year coach has kept a close eye on Cholowski and Smith.

“Those are two guys that caught my eye,” he said, “Cholowski, I thought that he moved well, he was smooth with the puck, passed the puck firm. If you look at young guys coming up to pro, sometimes they try to pass the puck nicely, meaning not as much zip, but he passed it firm on the tape and he was smooth with his stick handling. And Smith, obviously I like his size, I liked the way that he moves, and he’s definitely a guy that caught my eye in practice."

The camp continues Saturday with on-ice skill development at 9:30 a.m.