The Euro Ice Hockey Challenge is upcoming in a few weeks and we now have Ted Nolan’s roster. This roster looks pretty lackluster on the surface. It definitely is a chance for Nolan and his squad to get a look at some different players for the World Championships. It is a good thing. After last year’s performance, the team could use more changes than just the coaching staff.
John Murray (GKS Tychy)
Przemysław Odrobny (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ)
Ondrej Raszka (JKH GKS Jastrzębie)
The biggest shock here is no Rafal Radziszewski. Radziszewski is a Polish legend, but at 36 years old his career will be over in a few years. It’s really a turning of the chapter time for Poland with players like Adam Borzecki, Krzysztof Zapala, Adam Baginski, and Leszek Laszkiewicz all finished or coming to an end with the national team. Odrobny is the primary goalie, but it is time to start looking at who will be the goalie paired with him and eventually take over. Murray is 30 and Razska is 27, both younger and are not a downgrade. They deserve their chances to show what they can do on the international stage.
Bartosz Ciura (GKS Tychy)
Bartosz Dąbkowski (Comarch Cracovia)
Kamil Górny (GKS Tychy)
Oskar Jaśkiewicz (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ)
Maciej Kruczek (Comarch Cracovia)
Bartłomiej Pociecha (GKS Tychy)
Mateusz Rompkowski (Comarch Cracovia)
Damian Tomasik (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ)
Patryk Wajda (Comarch Cracovia)
Jakub Wanacki (TAURON KH GKS Katowice)
The defense has some interesting choices. You have your traditional and almost locks for the national team like Wajda, Rompkowski, Pociecha, Kruczek, Wanacki, and possibly Cirua. Add in Paweł Dronia, if he is available, there are not many open spots on defense. This is also Nolan’s team though, maybe some of these players are no longer locks. Jaśkiewicz is one my personal favorite players at 21, he still has plenty of time to make the senior team eventually. I hope Ted Nolan gives him a shot this year. Dabkowski is a veteran, who has played for Poland a lot. His experience is mostly at non-IIHF events. He was at the last EIHC in November, maybe Nolan has some interest in him. Tomasik is a younger player, who is in the midst of a breakout season. He has been moving up the ranks among Polish defensemen since last year. I doubt Nolan takes him this year, but for the future, he is one to watch. Gorny is on and off the national team at small events his whole career almost and not one I would put much stock in.
Michael Cichy (GKS Tychy)
Krystian Dziubiński (Comarch Cracovia)
Bartosz Fraszko (TAURON KH GKS Katowice)
Damian Kapica (Comarch Cracovia)
Marcin Kolusz (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ)
Sebastian Kowalówka (KS Unia Oświęcim)
Tomasz Malasiński (TAURON KH GKS Katowice)
Bartłomiej Neupauer (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ
Błażej Salamon (TMH Polonia Bytom)
Jan Steber (MH Automatyka Gdańsk)
Alexander Szczechura (GKS Tychy)
Maciej Urbanowicz (Comarch Cracovia)
Jakub Witecki (GKS Tychy)
Patryk Wronka (TAURON KH GKS Katowice)
Krzysztof Zapała (TatrySki Podhale Nowy Targ)
The biggest surprise Jan Steber! Jan Steber is now a member of the Polish national team. He is native to the Czech Republic and has some good experience. It includes the top league in the Czech Republic, the ECHL, and QMJHL. He was also a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2004. The 32-year-old has played in Poland since 2009, but did take two years off and did not play professionally in 2011 or 2012. I expect him to have a bottom 6 role with Poland. Steber is not the only import forward. Michael Cichy and Alexander Szczechura both joined the national team after dominating in the PHL. Cichy has already played with Poland in an IIHF event at the Olympic qualifiers. Szczechura still needs to gain a Polish passport to represent Poland at IIHF events. Cichy should be considered a lock for the World Championships and Szczechura too depending on passport issues. Outside of the locks for the national team. We see quite a few players getting back on the national team radar. Witecki and Kowalówka haven’t played for the national team since 2015. I doubt we will see either later at the World Championships. Salamon and Neupauer have gone longer without any national team time and like the others, them being included outside of the EIHC would surprise me. Bartosz Fraszko is a 22 year old forward who is starting to enjoy quite a bit of success in the PHL. He was impressive for Poland at the u20 World Championships a few years back and is now getting ready to join the senior team. I hope he proves to Nolan he belongs.
Fraszko brings me to my one critique of this year’s EIHC roster and that is the lack of young players. I was hoping Dominik Pas and Bartłomiej Jeziorski would get more time. Jeziorski played one game with the senior team this year while Pas has yet to. Both players are performing great with their PHL club and did amazing at the U20 World Championships. I rather young players get their chances than some veterans who have little a chance of making the team.