2022 Top 80 Men’s U23 Players. #3

We are now in the top 3. Our player at three shared a lot of similarities to the players ranked fifth and fourth. He was able to push past his setback for a better second half. He is also our highest-ranked player to play in Poland this year. 

Players had to be under the age of 23 and at least 16 years old on June 1st, 2022. We are only judging play that occurred before that date as well. Players are evaluated based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential. Skaters must have played at least five games to be considered. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. 169 players were considered for the list and reviewed. Eighty players received a ranking.

Players 80-51Players 30-21Players 10-8
Players 50-41Players 20-16Players 7-6
Players 40-31Players 15-11Players 5-4

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2021, change in rankings) 

3 – Dominik Paś (F), 23, JKH GKS Jastrzebie, (4, +1) 

Pas is one of the players I have consistently ranked high since I started covering Polish hockey. In his final ranking before aging off, he comes in at 3. Paś went abroad this season for the first time in his career, and it is something that I was hoping would happen for a while. He signed with AZ Havířov in the Chance Liga, the second level of Czech hockey. It was an excellent place for him to start, and I was excited to hopefully see a strong year garner interest from a team at the top level. 

That didn’t happen. Pas scored only two goals and assisted on four in 21 games. He fired 24 shots and was on the ice for an average of 13:48 a game. It was not a star-making performance, and he would return to Poland just before Christmas. Another one of the top five players that lost their spot after just half a season. At that point, when I did my mid-season look, I thought Pas was squarely number five with a strong chance that Bukowski or Macias could be ranked over him. His return to the PHL with JKH GKS Jastrzebie needed to be strong to keep his spot. 

It was not just a solid return to Poland but an electrifying one. The 5’10 forward put up 22 points (10G-12A-22PTS) in 29 games, with 15 of those points coming in 15 playoff games. Despite the late start, he finished fourth for scoring among all U23 skaters and second among Polish U23 skaters. He instantly returned to being one of Poland’s most explosive two-way forwards. While the PHL performance was outstanding, what set his second half over the edge was his play at the Division 1 Group B World Championships. 

This play right there. It shows why Pas is one of the most complete players in Poland. He finished with four points in four games, which included three goals. He was so amazing to watch in the tournament, and he sometimes felt like the best player on team Poland.

His performance was so strong that after the season, he attracted offers from not just all over Poland but even clubs abroad, wanting to see if he would take another chance at playing outside of his home country. Ultimately, he re-signed with JKH GKS Jastrzebie on a one-year agreement. I don’t know if Pas will ever be a great player outside of Poland, but I do know that he will be one of the highlights of the national team for years to come. He is the kind of player that can take the team to the next level regardless of where he plays in his club season.

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