When Ted Nolan released “his” list of 36 for the upcoming World Championships, I was disappointed by a lack of youth. In total there are 4 players under the age of 25. This includes both Patryk Wronka (22) and Alan Lyszczarczyk (20), who are locks to the make the final squad. The other two are Damian Tomasik (23) and Michal Kieler (22). Kieler has no chance of making the team as Poland’s goalie race is a 4 horse race. Despite having no chance of cracking the roster, this will be a valuable experience for him. Tomasik’s chances of making the team are pretty slim. Overall I would expect Wronka and Lyszczarczyk to be the only players under 25 on team Poland.
Now if there were no young players who deserved their shots, I would understand Poland taking veterans, but there were plenty of interesting options. Playing in Poland; Bartosz Fraszko, Radoslaw Sawicki, Dominik Pas, Bartlomiej Jeziorski, Lukasz Krzemien, and Oskar Jaskiewicz all had great seasons and outproduced some of the veterans picked over them. Pas and Jeziorski were a part of the best line in Poland’s World Juniors division. We wrote about why they should make team Poland here. Sawicki, Krzemien, and Jaskiewicz were on the entry list last year when Platcha was coaching Poland. These players have to get their shots when they’re outproducing veterans. Outside of Poland, one player I would argue for sure is Noureddine Bettahar. Bettahar is signed to a DEL team but was loaned to EC Bad Nauheim of the DEL2. He did have some struggles this year with only 13 points in 42 games. He played 27 games in the DEL last year picking up 1 assist and also had 7 points in 8 DEL2 games. Bettahar was also appointed to the team last year, but due to some German contract rules could not play. Last year, Bettahar said he eligible this year to hokej.net. That could have also changed with his demotion to the DEL2, but I have yet to hear anything like that.
I have to ask what is Ted Nolan doing in regards to the youth. It really feels like Poland is going backward in promoting them. It was something Ted Nolan talked a lot about when he first got the job. This really is not a critique, more I was hoping for a different approach. I’m going into this thinking more long term. Not saying Ted Nolan doesn’t have a long-term vision, but he may think in the short term this is his best rosters and relying on veterans is better. Nolan does like to ice a defensive physical team and the veterans will perform better in it. Especially if young offensive players cannot take on a top 6 role they will be reduced to little impact in a checking role. If Ted Nolan gets results, who am I to judge.