We are now in the top 20 of the rankings. This group features one of the biggest risers and one of the highest new additions to the list. Compared to the men’s list, there is a lot of shake-up in the top 20 section. While most of this, I’ll attribute to covid years, quite a few young players really shot up the rankings.
Players had to be under 20 on June 30th, 2021. 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. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. Ninety-five players were considered for the list and reviewed, and fifty players received a ranking. Players 50-31 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 30 players receive a report.
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2020, change in rankings)
20 – Alicja Sowa (F), 17, Polonia Bytom, (22, +2)
Polonia Bytom players are sometimes hard to fully judge on stats due to the stacked nature of the team, especially with the number of veterans. Last year, Sowa’s numbers were down but she still managed three assists in eight games. She also scored her first career goal in Poland’s U16 league with Polonia Bytom. She likely would have been named to her third straight U18 squad if not for the tournament cancellation. Sowa will still be eligible for the U18s in 2022.
19 – Julia Bujak (G), 18, Polonia Bytom, (Not Ranked)
Bujak jumps high on the list after she was likely to be the starting goalie for Poland at this year’s U18. There was not a lot to go on for young goalies last year. In both of her PLHK A appearances, she only played a combined 30 minutes but didn’t allow a goal in that time. She did play in two men’s u16 league games as well, allowing 16 goals, in matches Polonia Bytom lost 35-7. Again, there’s not much to say about a season with zero recorded full games. Throughout the year, Bujak was named to multiple U18 national teams battling for the number 1 spot but did not play in the games. Latvia.
18 – Zofia Postel (D), 19, UKH Biale Jastrzebie, (19, +1)
Zofia Postel moves up a spot on the list in her final year. The two-way defender followed her strong 2020 season with a similar 2021, posting seven assists in 13 games. It was a career-high in points, but the first season she failed to score a goal in the PLHK. Four of her assists were also primary assists, a new career-high. Her size will always work against her, and skating will need to improve, but she showed a lot of great reads and passing ability this year. Making those key passes and breakouts already put her ahead of many Polish defensewomen.
17 – Anna Kot (D), 17, Unia Oswiecim, (17, +0)
Kot is staying even with her ranking this year. Kot is one of the best U18 defenders in Poland, and its a shame she has missed out on two U18 tournaments. She will turn 18 at the beginning of next year too, so 2022 will be her final U18 team appearance. She did play in Poland U18’s two games against Latvia U18, picking up one assist. In her PLHK season, Kot recorded one assist in 11 games. In the playoffs, her production picked up with two goals and an assist in five games. A rising star in the Polish ranks, expect to start watching her for some senior chances in just the next couple of years.
16 – Justyna Zyla (F), 16, Unia Oswiecim (26, +10)
From one Osiwiecim player to the next on our list. Zyla has long been playing in high-level situations at such a young age, and during the 2020-21 season, she had her breakout year. Oswiecim was the lowest-scoring team in PLHK A, but Zyla still managed a new career-high in points with two goals and assist in 12 games, and then five goals in five games during the PLHK playoffs. Add in a solid junior season, and Zyla really started to show she is ready for top-line chances. This included what would have been her second U18 tournament last year, but she will be another player to miss multiple U18s due to the pandemic.