While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.
This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.
A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)
#6 – Helena Grzybowska (G), 18, PTH Kozice Poznań, (Unranked)
Grzybowska took any chance she had to play this year and excelled in it. In this list I have raved about how strong Poland looked at the U18s on the defensive end, a major part of that was Helena Grzybowska. She finished the U18s with a .948 save percentage percent. She also faced the second-most shots at the entire tournament. It was an absolute star-making performance. She also had strong performances at the Olympic Hope tournament for Poland.
On the club side, she played twelve games between Popradské líšky, PTH Kozice Poznań, and Silesia Brackens. In the top Slovakia women’ league, she posted a .942 sv% in 7 games for Popradské líšky. This included three shutouts. In her three games with Poznań, she posted a .950 sv%, while facing at least 35 shots in each game. In two games for the Brackens, She posted a .893 sv%, which was second among Polish goalies and U18 goalies in the league. With Sass and Grzybowska in net, Poland is set for a long time.
#5 – Iga Schramm (F), 18, PTH Kozice Poznań (7, +2)
The forward that stood out to me the most at the U18s this year was Iga Schramm. She always seemed to around the puck and making a play while there. She posted four points (2-2-4) in five games, which was tied with Wiktoria Sikorska for the lead on team Poland. She also managed 21 shots in the tournament, her shot total was second on team Poland. She also had a solid showing at the Olympic Hopes tournament, scoring vs Hungary.
In her club season with Poznań, she posted 19 points (12-7-19) in 12 games. This ranked fourteenth in the league and number one overall on Poznań. Schramm already made her senior IIHF debut last year, recording zero points in five games. I was really excited to see how she would have fared at the Worlds this year.
#4 – Zuzanna Baran (RW), 18, Šarišanka Prešov, (4, 0)
Baran didn’t really have a strong appearance at the U18s. She recorded zero points and registered 11 shots, but Poland’s offense as a whole struggled at the tournament. She is ranked fourth once again thanks to her excellent season in Slovakia. In the Slovak top women’s league, Baran posted 34 points (13-21-34) in 22 games. Her point total ties her for eleventh overall in the league, third among players under 20, and first among players under 18.
Her situational point break down was very impressive as well with 85.3% of her points coming at even strength, 8.8% on the powerplay, and 5.9% shorthanded. Seeing a player do so well offensively without a majority of those points coming in five on five hockey is a great sign about their potential. This was also an 11 point increase from last season when she had 23 points. Baran has a very bright future and should be a valuable part of Poland’s top 6.