After much delay, we are back to ranking the top women’s U20 players from the 2022 season. This group is starting to show the potential depth that Poland has developed. There still remains a massive gap between the leaders of Poland and the rest of the team, but we are seeing that gap close more and more. Especially when you look at this group, some players might join that top group of forwards.
Players had to be under the age of 20 and at least 13 years old on September 12th, 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. 113 players were considered for the list and reviewed. Fifty players received a ranking.
30 – Weronika Huchel (F), 15, Atomowki Tychy (40, +10)
Huchel had a significant stock-raising year. After a pointless regular season in 2021, she stepped up with seven goals and five assists in 18 games. Huchel suited up for the U18 squad throughout the year. Her strong performance in the PLHK and non-IIHF events made her make the Polish U18 squad for the September tournament. This was her first appearance for Poland U18 and made her a lock for the 2023 tournament. She possesses very solid puck-control skills and offensive awareness.
29 – Anna Sencerz (F), 14, Stoczniowiec Gdansk (NR)
Sencerz might be the next young breakout star of Gdansk. The young forward had 10 points (3G-7A-10PTS) in 14 games, and she added two more points in six playoff games. Her 12 total points finished tied for sixth among all U18 players. Easily someone who immediately jumps on the list of forwards to start watching to be leaders for the U18 squad.
28 – Nikola Isztok (D), 15, KS Cracovia 1906 (35, +7)
Isztok has jumped on the radar recently and seems to possess the potential to be an impactful national team defenseman. She looked good at the U18s in her first IIHF appearance. During her club season, she posted a goal and three assists in 12 games for Cracovia. Her impressive season at 14 earned her a chance with Polonia Bytom. Isztok should undoubtedly be one of the leading defensemen on the U18 squad going forward. She could be the quarterback the Polish powerplay needs.
27 – Julia Bujak (G), 18, Polonia Bytom, (19, -8)
The ability to judge goalies in Poland is challenging. You barely get any playing time to see a goalie play. Bujak appeared in three games this year for Polonia Bytom, playing 30 minutes in two games and 50 minutes in the other. She stopped 20 of the 21 shots she faced in that limited action for a .952 save percentage. She made the Polish U18 squad as a backup but did not see any action. Still, Bujak slides into the second-highest-ranked goalie spot on our list. She did start for Poland at non-IIHF games and put in a decent performance at an exhibition tournament in Iceland, stopping 65 shots in three games.
26 – Amelia Bula (F), 18, Naprzod Janow, (30, +4)
Bula has steadily improved her offensive production in the PHLK. After 12 points in 15 games last year, she averaged over a point per game this year with 18 points in 15 games. Her 14 regular season goals were tied for eighth among U20 skaters. She joined Unia Oswiecim for the playoffs and recorded two goals and three assists in six games. Bula was also finally able to make her IIHF debut, playing four games at the Division 1 Group B World Championships. Given her age, I was hoping she would be an offensive leader for the team, but she recorded zero points or shots during the tournament.
25 – Weronika Świątek (F), 14, PTH Kozice Poznan (NR)
Świątek makes her debut on the list after a great season at just 13 years old. She was a crucial part of the five forwards that helped the Poznan offense stay afloat. In 2022, she scored ten goals and assisted on nine in 16 games. She is moving over to Gdansk for the 2022-23 season; hopefully, that should continue to add to her development.
24 – Agata Cybulska (F), 14, PTH Kozice Poznan (NR)
Cybulska was another key young player for Poznan and had a fantastic year at just 13 years old. In 22 games, she scored nine goals and assisted on 15. That is a tremendous year and looks to paint a bright picture for the future. Now a bit of that production probably won’t continue on a stronger team, as she wouldn’t play as much due to stronger talent. Still, Cybulska is another solid piece to watch for Poland’s future.
23 – Julia Grzelak (D), 18, Stoczniowiec Gdansk (41, +18)
Grezlak will not play in 2022-23 with Gdansk to focus on her studies. It is a shame, as she had a massive breakout season to drive up our rankings. She posted 13 goals in just 14 games during the regular season, but only recorded a single assist in six games in the playoffs. I wanted to see more of her in 2023 to see which was the true season and how high the ceiling was.
22 – Katarzyna Zaborska (D), 19, Unia Oswiecim (15, -7)
Zaborska found herself in a good spot last year and played in 13 games with Metropolis Katowice in the EWHL. She fell down the depth chart in 2022 and only played two games with Poland’s EWHL club. She spent most of her season with Unia Oswiecim, where she posted a new career high of eight points (4G-4A-8PTS) in 17 games. A solid defenseman with two-way potential, I think she will begin to be on the cusp of the national teams’ defensive depth.
21 – Olga Jaskulska (F), 17, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (26, +5)
A much improved year for Jaskulska, as she went from just two PLHK points to 17. During the regular season, she averaged a point per game with 16 points (7G-9A-16PTS) in 16 games. She would add one more goal to her total during three playoff games. She will be focusing on her studies this upcoming year and not be with Gdansk.
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