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. In this part, we look at the player ranked third.
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team
3 – Jakub Lewandowski (F), 18, HC Vitkovice U19. One of the highest bars to hit when judging the growth of a small hockey country is getting a player drafted. It can make headlines and inspire so many young players in a country. For Poland, it has been a long time since that height was reached. The last was Marcin Kolusz, who heard his name called in 2003. There have been others since then to reportedly draw some interest and get invited to development camps, but that elusive status of being drafted has continued to evade Polish players. There is always talk of the next player who may potentially change that and that player in Poland right now is Jakub Lewandowski. Lewandowski is Poland’s next chance to have a player drafted to the NHL and his odds look promising.
Lewandowski moved over to the Czech junior system in 2016 after playing in the Sokoly Torun system his entire life. He even reached the Tourn U20 team as a 14-year-old in 2015. His jump to Czechia was dominant from the beginning he had 54 points (27G, 27A) in 30 Czech U16 games. He also got in 28 games at the U18 league, adding 25 more points (17G, 8A). He played full time in the Czech U18 league for the 2017-18 season, he scored 29 goals in 42 games while adding 15 assists for 44 points.
Now to this season his season before being draft eligible. Lewandowski got off to an extremely hot start. Being one of the leading scorers to begin the Czech junior year.
His scoring did cool a bit, but by no means was it not great production. Lewandowski finished with 22 goals and 26 assists in 48 games. This was the second most points by any player in their season before draft eligibility and the 6th highest point-per-game.
Lewandowski made his national team IIHF debut for Poland at the 2018 U18s. There he was able to score five goals and added two assists. This was tied for the second most goals on team Poland. This year he was left off the U20 World Championship in a controversial decision. That I view as one of the biggest roster mistakes this decade. He did get one game in with PZHL U23, where he recorded an assist against Orlik Opole.
Lewandowski is a sensational offensive talent with an eye for the back of the end. He will always be able to make his way to the front of the net and use his excellent patience before unleashing his lethal shot. He has some decent forechecking ability. He has all the offensive tools to succeed in some of the top professional leagues in Europe.
While his top professional league status in Europe is probably a guarantee. He is also the Polish player that has the best chance to be drafted. His draft year is next year and it is no were near a guarantee, but he has a lot going for him. First, he has the size that NHL team love, Lewandowski stands at 6’2. Second, he has the offensive skill to be drafted in my opinion. The third is the fact that how similar players and players he played with and against are doing. For the 2020 draft, there are six players popping up on draft boards who also played in the Czech u19 league.
Lewandowski while not the top scoring player is not the worst. A reminder he also had the second most points among players in their draft-eligibility -1 season. While an impressive stat part of this is because all the other players, besides John-Jason Peterka, were able to play some professional hockey games. That is the big key for Lewandowski, he needs to get on some larger stages. Even if that is just playing a handful of games in the second league. It would give the exposure and credibility that Lewandowski needs. He will be a key member of Poland’s U20 team along with returning to HC Vitkovice U19. Hopefully, Vitkovice will give him some professional chances.