Pre 2023 World Championships Mailbag

Both the men’s and women’s senior national teams are set to begin their World Championships this month. It is the biggest event and busiest time of the year. Given the circumstances, I wanted to open up the mailbag to answer any questions that fans might have about the time. So we sent out a post across all our social media channels to get questions and here is what we got! If you have a question, then leave in it the comments or send it to us on any social channel, and we can include it in a future mailbag.

How Do You See D1A Shaping Up This Year?

How do you see D1A shaping up this year?

Originally tweeted by Éric Grenier (@EricGrenierTW) on April 12, 2023.

It’s an interesting tournament this year for Division 1 Group A. Due to the suspensions of Russia and Belarus, the group is probably down a bit more talent than usual. This year the group includes Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and South Korea. To me, Italy is the only team that comes out as a clear favorite type, as they are gearing up to be the host nation for the Winter Olympics. They have quickly loaded a roster with 10-plus imports. This talent surge will probably be enough to keep them on top. I like Lithuania a lot as well, but without a healthy Emilijus Krakauskas, it’s hard to know who will drive their offense. My predictions are based just on looking at the rosters on paper.

  1. Italy
  2. Great Britain
  3. Poland
  4. Lithuania
  5. South Korea
  6. Romania

Does Igor Tyczynski stay in Poland or go elsewhere?

Does Igor Tyczynski stay in Poland or go elsewhere?

Originally tweeted by Danny Tiffany 🇺🇸 (@dantiffany30) on April 12, 2023.

These questions are always hard to answer because we don’t know what the player wants to do. Usually for Polish players, you can assume the answer is to stay in Poland. That would be especially true in the past for goaltenders, due to the import rules in other countries about goalies. That is changing though, and right now Poland has a few young goalies in junior leagues. Mateusz Majewski is Germany’s top level, Jakub Wieczorek plays in the ZCS Lions system in Switzerland, and then both Jan Kusak and Juliusz Ceglinski play in Czechia. If Igor wanted to go abroad, he has the talent to. As one of the best goalie prospects in the national team system, I would love to see him develop in a stronger country.

How do you expect tomorrow’s game to go against Slovenia?

From Bret via Twitter Direct Messages

Slovenia is a tough but common opponent of the Men’s national team. Poland has always performed well against them. I think a big part of this is their team lacks a lot of depth but does have high-end star power and I’m not just talking about Kopitar in that. Poland did well against a strong Latvia, one that I believed proved Poland can stay competitive with the bottom teams in the elite division. I don’t think Slovenia is that much different and would be in the back of the elite group. I expect Poland to split the two-game series with two close matches.

Is the women’s team the favorite to win gold?

From Damian via Facebook

Last year the women’s team saw a golden chance at promotion slip from their hands due to a China team that was packed with top imports. If China didn’t have their imports, and help from the IIHF on looking the other way on import rules, then Poland would have 100% won gold and promotion to Group A. The competition is the same, and while the red and white will be missing some key players on defense, I still see them progressing. Italy will be the game that decides it all.

Next Polish player to be drafted?

From Tomek via Instagram

Getting a player drafted is more luck than it a development system. Outside your top countries, no back of the elite or Division 1 team regularly develops NHL draft picks. For Poland to get an NHL draft pick is going to take some luck and a player being in a stronger country. Krzysztof Macias would probably still be the best bet. He had a strong junior year, got some senior games in, and dominated at the IIHF junior events. It’s a shame he won’t be with Poland at the men’s World Championships, but still, if a team liked him last year, they should be happy with his growth. Hubert Szarzynski plays in Sweden’s top U18 league and that will likely get some eyes on him for this year, but I don’t think it’s likely at all he gets drafted. Looking into the future Matthew McGovern who plays for RB Hockey Academy U18 and Patryk Zubek from HC Banska Bystrica U18 should be watched. Both are only 15-year-olds and had really strong seasons in U18 leagues.

Do you have any concern with Kalaber’s roster choices?

From Adrian via Instagram

When Poland’s rosters have been released there have always been a few roster choices I question and would do something differently. I don’t agree with Macias being left off the team for the upcoming Worlds, and I would love to know why Poland doesn’t seem to want to use import Christian Mroczkowski. In the end, he is building a team around his structure and system. So far, the results have been great for Poland under him, they hung with top teams and beat Belarus at the qualifiers, won gold and promotion at D1B, and now the upset win against a strong Latvia team. Poland has looked good against better opponents which is what Kalaber builds his teams for.

If you want to keep up with all the Polish hockey action, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey, like our Facebook page, and add us on Instagram @PolishPuck_. Also, support us on Patreon to help keep the content flowing!

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