Tag: Damian Tyczynski

2022 Top 80 Men’s U23 Players. #5-4

We are in the top five of the rankings. These five players all found themselves in the top five last year. Despite a solid push by the two players ranked seventh and sixth, I always knew these five would be at the top again. The only hard part was going to be figuring out where they ranked amongst themselves. By the end of the year, it became easy to separate the five, in my opinion.  

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 15-11

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

5 – Jakub Lewandowski (F), 21, Bemidji State University, (3, -2

Jakub Lewandowski made his NCAA debut this year for Bemidji State University. He is only the third Polish player to appear at the world’s top level of college hockey. That on its own is an impressive feat, it is another level you don’t expect to see any Polish players appear at. The NCAA also leads to fantastic opportunities for professional chances. Just this offseason, four of Lewandowski’s teammates made some big moves by signing deals in the AHL, ECHL, and Tipos Extraliga. 

For his rookie year, Lewandowski posted two goals and two assists in 19 games while also recording 17 shots and eight blocked shots. His .22 point per game average was 83rd among 20-year-old forwards, it is not uncommon for some pretty low point totals in freshman years. He also did have all four of his points in his first ten games before ending on a 9-game pointless streak. Many first-year students don’t see the ice at all, so I was happy to see him make an impact to begin the year, but he may have been phased out of the lineup after that pointless streak. 

Lewandowski Goal vs. Lake Superior State University NCAA

Of his production matches, 14.3% have gone on to play 50 NHL games, while the most common outcome was an ECHL career with 42.9% of matches. Lewandowski’s most significant asset for the next level is his size. His skating is only considered average by many scouts I have talked to, and that will be the key sticking point to how far he exceeds in North American hockey. Size and skating could take him far if he continues to improve his skating. We see that in his production matches, who don’t have eye-popping stats but still have strong North American careers. His work ethic and leadership abilities are other things you will see mentioned a lot by coaches and scouts. He made the CCHA All-Academic Team for 2022 as well. 

He only turns 21 next year and will be returning to Bemidji. With many big forwards leaving, including seven of the team’s top ten scorers, there should be plenty of opportunities. The big thing will be earning and succeeding in those new opportunities. Consistency issues have been brought up in his past two seasons in the US. I think Lewandowski is at least a guaranteed lock to be a top forward in Poland, which is a good floor. The ceiling will be easier to determine with how his sophomore year goes. 

4 – Damian Tyczyński (F), 22, HK Spisska Nova Ves, (2, -2)

What made the separation of the top five easier was something that Lewandowski and Tyczyński both suffered in losing their spot. Tyczyński had been a highlight of HK Spisska Nova Ves in the second Slovak league last year. When the team earned a promotion to the Tipos Extraliga, they brought their young Polish playmaker with them. Unfortunately, during the year, it seems that he and new head coach Miroslav Mosnár were not always on the same page. He left the team in late December after he continued to fall down the lineup, and it appeared to be a pretty unpopular decision among fans. 

Richard Rapac, the team general manager, released a statement following his release. 

“Unfortunately, Damian was falling out of the lineup in recent matches and there was not long-term satisfaction with his game. Nevertheless, he got the opportunity to fight for his position in the team from the coaching staff. He decided not to take this opportunity, which I personally feel very sorry about. We tried to send Damian to another extra league team, but no one was not interested in his services. In the end, we decided to release him to the first league Dubnica. I wish “Tyčko” only the best in his new place, especially a lot of health. On behalf of the entire club and fans, I thank him for his services and his large parge in the promotion to the Extraliga. The door is open in the future.“

From what I gather, the team was not satisfied with his slow adjustment to the top league in the defensive end. Offensively, while it was not his production in the second league, he was showing well. He posted 15 points (4G-11A-15PTS) in 25 games. That was still good for tenth in points among skaters on HK Spisska Nova Ves to end the year, despite Tyczyński playing 10 to 20 fewer regular-season games. Maybe the release was the wrong choice, as they also fell in the standings from fifth to seventh. 

Damian Tyczyński Shootout goal vs HK Nitra Tipos Extraliga

15 points in 25 games is good production for a forward in their 21-year-old season. His .60 points per game were seventh among all U23 players, while the 15 points were 10th among the same group. So it is no surprise that 100% of his matches have gone on to play 250 games or more in the Tipos Extraliga or a stronger league. 12.5 percent of his matches went on to play in a top European league like the KHL or SHL. At the same time, 38% went to play in a mid-euro level league or stronger. Of course, that defensive play will be the largest factor to him advancing, and it seems earlier in the year, no other Tipos Extraliga was interested in taking him on. 

I could end the report there, and his 25 games in the top of Slovakia would have been enough to warrant his spot at 4. He didn’t just end his year after being released. He represented Poland at the Baltic Challenge Cup, recording a goal and two assists in three games. He also went back to the second Slovak league with HK Spartak Dubnica. There he posted 28 points (6G-22A-28PTS) in 26 games. His 1.08 point per game average was 11th among all skaters in the league and was second among all U23 players. 71.4% of his production matches there, also have had Tipos Extraliga careers of at least 100 games. 

Undoubtedly, he will work his way back to the top league or in another top league around Europe. His drive and determination will continue to open doors for the talented playmaker. For 2023, he has signed a deal in the second level of Slovakia, with an option that automatically converts if the club gets promoted. He is another player where his floor is a PHL star.

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2021 Top 50 Men’s U23 Players. #2

And then there were two. Both of these players have hung around in my top five for a while. This year, an opening for the top spot emerged with the usual number one aging out and Jakub Lewandowski having his season canceled. That left two players outside of Poland competing with the best in the PHL. It was hard to pick as quite a few players in the PHL had great years. In the end, the achievement of these two players made them the clear top two to me. While the difference between them raises the question, what is better to score a lot in a lower-tier league or score a little in a higher-tier league? The national team performances helped be the deciding factor, but that question remains, especially for the 2022 rankings. 

Players had to be under the age of 23 and at least 16-years-old 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. Players must have played at least five hockey games to be considered. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. One hundred forty-five players were considered for the list and reviewed. Eighty players received a ranking. Players 80-51 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 50 players receive a report.

Players 50-41Players 15-11Player #3
Players 40-31Players 10-8
Players 30-21Players 7-6
Players 20-16Players 5-4

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2020, change in rankings)

2 –  Damian Tyczyński (C), 22, HK Spisska Nova Ves (5, +3

The one word I would use to describe the career of Tyczyński is relentless. The young Polish forward has an infamous quote about the NHL and higher European chances he was not afforded due to being a Pole.

 “Of course. It is my dream. But there is one problem – I am a Pole, and they do not want the Poles. When they learn that I am from Poland, they lose interest.” 

That interview line has stuck in my head for a long time as we constantly await the next Pole to impact hockey significantly? What if they’re just not getting the chance they deserve because another country has more credibility in the hockey world. Poles are not the only ones that face this problem either. 

It gives young Poles more reason to potentially give up the sport they love if the PHL does not fulfill their desires. We have recently seen a substantial shift in young Poles getting opportunities abroad in a big part due to a great group of young players and Poland gaining a strong hockey agency led by a former national team forward, Krzysztof Zapała. The change in Poland reminded me of another quote this time about Tyczyński by former national team player Damian Slabon.

Damian Tyczyński has the skill to play, a good chance to play in the national team for many years. I wish him to play abroad. Please God.” 

This is where the word relentless comes into play for the native of Krynica. For years, the young center showed himself to be one of the best players in Slovakia’s top junior leagues. No professional team ever wanted to give the Pole a shot despite all the success and points. So what did he do? With a fire under him, he returned to Poland, posting 35 points in 40 PHL games for PZHL U23 and Zaglebie Sosnowiec. He proved he was ready to be a professional player. This PHL performance finally got him the professional shot in Slovakia that had eluded him. He posted five points in five games in Slovakia’s second league with HK Spisska Nova Ves. 

For the 2021 season, he would return to HK Spisska Nova Ves, this time for the entire year in the senior league. Over the year, he would post 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 49 games. His 45 points were the 10th most in the second level of Slovak hockey and the most by a U23 player with a 10 point gap for second place. It was the 13th best season in the history of the Slovak second league for points by a 20-year-old player. A true breakout season for the young Pole. He was especially clutch in the playoffs helping HK Spisska Nova Ves earn promotion to the Tipos Extraliga with 15 points (6G-9A-15PTS) in 15 playoff games. 

Tyczyński Goal vs. HK Martin

Even in a season of such promise and poise, the center had ups and downs. He missed four games early in the year due to an ankle injury. While after going through a rough streak of only one assist in nine matches, he worked with a psychologist, who helped him rediscover his confidence and game. We love to see a player reaching out for help and being open about it in his interview with hokej.net. 

The 2022 season is a big one for Tyczyński, as the 21-year-old will be moving to the Tipos Extraliga with HK Spisska Nova Ves. The promotion giving him a chance to show his skills in a much stronger league. In terms of production matches, 60% of matches went on to have careers in the mid-tier of European hockey. Which bolds well for Tyczyński’s future! I wouldn’t bet against him hitting higher and higher achievements, as he is relentless.

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2019 Poland U20 World Championship Roster Prediction

Recently the U20 National team revealed their roster for the final grouping before the U20 World Championship in Ukraine from December 12th to the 18th. This year the U20 team has had an interesting journey to the World Championship. Poland U20 is going to be very young this year and has tried out a few combinations for lines and rosters. In the past few years, Poland has not been able to earn promotion despite talents like Alan Łyszczarczyk, Bartomiej Jeziorski, Dominik Pas, and others leading the team. This year Poland u20 may have their biggest star in a while as potential NHL draft pick Jakub Lewandowski could represent the team. Adam Kiedewicz is not listed on the roster, and this cast doubt on him ever representing Poland again in his career. Today we make our picks though on what players will be on the ice in red and white for the U20 World Championship.


Kamil Walega- Jan Soltys – Jakub Lewandowski

Damian Tyczynski – Igor Smal  – Ernest Bochnak

Jakub Prokurat – Konrad Filipek – Maciej Witan

Jan Krzyzek – Kacper Gruzla – Mateusz Ubowski

Extra: Mateusz Bezwinski

This offense has a lot of talent. The top line could honestly rival the Alan Łyszczarczyk, Bartomiej Jeziorski, and Dominik Pas line that torn up the U20 World Championships a couple years ago. Walega and Lewandowski may be a bit one dimensional at times, but Soltys plays a complete game that will really benefit the line. It won’t be needed much, though, as this line will continuously be driving offense. The second line brings a lot of unique experiences and offensive potential. All three players have excelled in different places, Tyczynski tore up junior leagues in Slovakia, Igor Smal has been impressive at the senior level in Poland, while Bochnak has earned professional chances in the Czech Republic. The bottom lines still provide a lot of solid depth, size, and a chance at production. Bottom six production is something that Poland has been missing for a long time.


Szymon Bieniek – Klaudiusz Libik

Patryk Gosztyla – Armen Khoperia

Adrian Duszak- Michal Narog

Extra: Bartosz Florczak

There were not too many tough choices here, and there are four returners to the roster on defense. The defense lacked two big things experience and production last year. Everyone is now a year older and should have gained plenty of experience. While the production remains to be seen. Bieniek, Libik, and Narog can all make a significant impact on the offensive end. Florczak is included as my extra because of that. The 16-year-old is very talented and could provide offensively if needed. Libik and Bieniek have a chance to be two of the best defensemen ever for Poland, though the bar is pretty low. Poland has never had outstanding offensive defensemen, with Pawel Dronia being the highlight of this decade. Libik and Bieniek could change that.


Sebastian Lipinski

Maciej Miarka

The same goaltending duo as last year and no need to change it. Lipinski is the best junior goalie that Poland has, and Miarka isn’t far behind. Lipinski had a great showing at the U20 World Championship last year, while Miarka put on a show at the U18 World Championships. I would expect Lipinski to play four of the games, but Miarka to get at least one.


This team has a lot of potential. They could be the team that earns Poland promotion after four straight silver medals. The group has a lot of speed and skill. They are going to be able to outsmart their opponent and dictate how the game is played. This is a very young squad, and if the defense falters, it could be disastrous for the team. Lipinski posted a .938% last year for Poland and that still wasn’t enough. Poland really needs the defense to stop opponents from getting high danger chances and providing some help on offense.

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2019 Top 50 Polish Men’s U23 Players. #9-8

Despite all that seems to go wrong in Polish hockey the light at the end of the tunnel has been the amount of great young talent that Poland has in their system right now. This is the deepest depth of young talent Poland has had this century. Regardless of what happens in regards to management and coaching with the talent that Poland has coming, they should be able to push forward. In this list, I wanted to rank Poland’s young talent to create a better picture of what the future look likes. This is part 2 of the series as we look at the players ranked 9 and 8.

Players 50-45     Players 26-21

Players 44-39     Players 20-17

Players 38-33     Players 16-13

Players 32-27     Players 12-10

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team

#9 – Kamil Walega (F), 19, JKH GKS Jastrzebie. This year Kamil Walega and Jan Soltys did something that I thought was impossible in making PZHL U23 a competitive team. In 22 games with PZHL, Walega had 11 goals and 3 assists. His 11 goals are the most ever scored by any player apart of a PHL junior squad in the history of the PHL. When you throw in his 20 games with JKH GKS Jastrzebie, his season totals at 16 goals and 7 assists in 42 games. That is the highest goal and point total among U20 players and the second highest point per game among players with at least 5 games played. In the history of the PHL, it is the 16th highest overall total by a U20 player in the league.



There exist only a few production matches for Walega, but they do us no good in projecting his future. The players are Bartlomiej Jeziorski, Dominik Pas, Mateusz Goscinski, and Pawel Polacarz. Jeziorski, Pas, and Goscinski are all still fairly young great players, but still there careers are too young to judge. Polacarz, on the other hand, faced a lot of injury problems and retired at only 22 in 2011. Such a rare season should be considered good, especially based on how much players like Jeziroski or Pas improved their production the following year.


Walega also made his senior national team debut playing in two exhibition games against Hungary. He was a leader on Poland’s U20 team as well at the U20 World Championships. He had 1 goal and 4 assists, which was tied for the second most points on the team. He is only 5’10 but plays like he is much larger. He has some great edge work that he uses to protect the puck and drive the net. A true powerhouse on the offensive front. Walega will be able to return to team Poland U20 next year, and I imagine he’ll get more games with the senior national team as well. Walega is a player that has outgrown Poland. I don’t think he can gain much more from playing in the PHL and it would be best for his development to try and move up to a stronger league. Poland’s U20 coach agrees with this idea as shown by an interview after the U20 World Championship, “Our problem is that players like Pasia or Wałęgi should go to Sweden two years ago to continue to develop. In Poland, they will learn nothing more.” 

#8 – Damian Tyczynski (LW), 19, HK Poprad U20.  Tyczynski was an absolute scoring machine last year in the Slovak U20 league. In 46 regular season games, he had 22 goals and 47 assists for 69 points. That led the regular season in scoring by 16 points. It was also the second highest points per game among players with 15 games played.

Slovai points.png

He was unfortunately injured in his first playoff game and missed the rest of the postseason, but still managed assists before going down to bring his point total up to 70. Even when overall totals are applied, Tyczynski lead the league in scoring by 6 points!




With a performance like that you have to imagine HK Poprad would be pleased enough for him to get a chance in the Tipsport Liga right? Nope. Tyczynski saw 6 of his teammates get a chance with the team, but never got his. Tyczynski set the U20’s team record for assists in a season and the second most points in a season. The answer is simple as to why he didn’t get a chance and that is because he is Polish. Tyczynski knows this pretty well and has said it in multiple interviews, but still hoped to earn a chance with the top squad.  In an interview with Sport.sk Tyczynski talked about why some chances have fallen through when asked if he is interested in being drafted to the NHL, “Of course. It is my dream. But there is one problem – I am a Pole and they do not want the Poles. When they learn that I am from Poland, they lose interest. I do not know. There were some chances for me as well, but when they learned that I was a Pole, it fell. I see the problem in a lack of tradition. They don’t believe us. ”

Most players who produced like him at his age have gone on to the Canadian Hockey League or turned pro in Europe. That is what makes the future of Tyczynski so interesting. His resume says that he should be getting a lot of interest from stronger leagues, but apparently, the Polish factor is holding him back. He will be able to play for team Poland next year at the U20 World Championships, but that is the only known team he will be on. He will always have a chance to play in the PHL, and had offers last offseason to come over including from Cracovia Krakow. He deserves to be in a higher league though.

Player 7-6

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