Despite all that seems to go wrong in Polish hockey the light at the end of the tunnel has been the amount of great young talent that Poland has in their system right now. This is the deepest depth of young talent Poland has had this century. Regardless of what happens in regards to management and coaching with the talent that Poland has coming, they should be able to push forward. In this list, I wanted to rank Poland’s young talent to create a better picture of what the future look likes. This is part 2 of the series as we look at the players ranked fourth.
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team
4. Dominik Pas (F), 20, JKH GKS Jastrzebie. Pas may not be the most skilled player in Polish hockey, but he is the future face of Polish hockey. Pas plays a strong all-around game. He is a leader on and off the ice. He is a great competitor and going to charge into any battle for the puck, usually winning that battle. He has a great shot, is a strong passer, and read defenses really well. If there is a hole where he can skate through or set a teammate up he will find it. He has all the tools and skills a player will need. The only knock on him is a lack of consistency. He can play anywhere in the line up in any role and will succeed.
Pas has always been on the cusp of making his senior IIHF debut for Poland. Last year, he was a controversial cut after performing well in the games leading up to the World Championship. This year, he was left off the World Championship team again but managed to play four games with the senior team recording a goal. This was also his last year of representing the U20 national team. It was his third time representing the team and the first as captain. He recorded 4 goals and 3 assists helping Poland to a third straight silver medal. There is something weird about his national team career. In 165 PHL games, Pas has only 88 penalty minutes. Meanwhile, on the international stage, he has 77 penalty minutes in just 31 games.
Pas will turn 20 a handful of games into the 2019-20 season. Despite his young age he has already played 165 games in the PHL. That is the most ever played by a U20 player in the history of the PHL. His 84 points in those games are the 3rd most behind Aron Chmielewski and Leszek Tokarz. Pas always been among the top U20 scorers in the PHL for years. Only 10, 16-year-olds have played more than 20 games in a PHL. Pas is the only one to ever record at least 10 points. He followed that up with a strong 17-year-old season, where his 26 points (13G, 13A) were the most ever by a U18 player in the league.
Now based on his first two seasons in the league at such a young age, you would expect his offense to explode. It hasn’t really and 26 points remain his career high. He tied his career of 26 points (10G, 16A) in 2017-18. It was still strong enough to be the 6th best season by an 18-year-old. There are not really comparables for the success that Pas has had. The players above him are just slightly out of his point per game production range. They include Mariusz Czerkawski, Aron Chmielewski, Patryk Wronka, Damian Kapica, and Bartlomiej Jeziorski in that order.
Now to 2018-19, this season was the lowest production from him since he was 16. He recorded 22 points (9G, 13A) in 46 games. Still really solid production for his age, but of course based on his last two years, one could have expected a stronger rate of production. Now it is not a huge red flag as JKH GKS Jastrzebie played a more defensive style this year. They only scored 125 goals the 7th most in the league (11 teams in the PHL counted for this), but only allowed 76, the fewest in the league.
Now this is where the big question for Pas comes in, what is next? Pas is believed to be in the final year of his contract with JKH GKS Jastrzebie. Pas is a player that needs to leave Poland to further develop his game. He could stay in Poland and would eventually become a strong player and solid national team contributor serving a two-way role in the top 6, but he also has a chance to be one of the top Polish players of this decade. He will need to go aboard to develop these skills, especially on offense. “I think about it, but it is not so easy. Not everything depends on me, and besides, it’s not so easy to leave everything and go. You need to have a good agent, but generally many factors affect it,” Pas replied when asked about going abroad after the U20 World Championships.