This year was a pivotal year for Polish hockey. For many players that frequented the list last year or in the years past it was onto full-time professional hockey in Poland or testing their skills in another countries highest junior league, while plenty of players arose to challenge and cemented themselves as future pillars of the national team plenty of players couldn’t live up to their expectations causing drastic changes to the rankings.
This is not the time I wanted to start the list, as the World Championship and U18 World Championship are a great way for players to improve their stock, the U18 World Championship being the first significant exposure for a lot of players. Due to the coronavirus, there are no more tournaments, and hockey is done for the year. Polish hockey itself faces an uncertain future as the virus will leave a lasting effect for years to come.
The real world is a very dark and scary place right now, but I want to look forward to the future while stuck at home. The future of the Polish national team is something that fans should be excited about. I have maintained for years that Poland has more young talent right now then it did any other time this century. I still stand by that opinion today. Poland saw their ace prospect prove himself in professional North American hockey, another NHL draft prospect rise, and a vast increase in depth. Today we start our ranking of the top 50 Men’s U23 players in Poland.
Players had to be under the age of 23 and at least 16-years-old on March 27th, 2020. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential. While a majority of the ranking is my own opinion, numerous people in the Polish hockey world contributed their thoughts on players. 140 players were considered for the list and scouted. 80 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 scouting report.
|Players 50-41||Players 15-13|
|Players 40-31||Player 12|
|Players 30-21||Player 11|
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking
10 – Dominik Jarosz (F), 22, JKH GKS Jastrzebie (24, +14)
Jarosz has always been among the top forward prospects in Poland, it seemed every season the 6’2 forward was a prime breakout candidate due to his great speed and size. This year he started off hot, immediately scoring three goals at the RT Torax Cup in August. He followed this up with an impressive Visegrad Cup registering five points (3-2-5) in nine games. Then the cherry on the top of his remarkable season was a 23 point (9-14-23) season in 53 games. A new career-high for Jarosz.
This was sixth among all u23 skaters in the PHL this year and seventh in points per game among u23 skaters. Though eight points of his points were against Janow and PZHL U23. 15 points versus quality teams is in line with his past years, but for me, I was able to overlook this for quite a few reasons. The PHL was stronger this year, so even keeping consistent with past years is a solid goal for young players, especially as ice time or prime powerplay time might have gone to imports. Next was his performances away from Poland, recording multi-point games versus teams in the Chance Liga and Tipsport Extraliga.
A big part of his of this is his fantastic offensive awareness, he reads defenses really well to make the right play while scoring or setting up teammates. Like a lot of young players, these things need to happen more consistently. His all-around game and better offensive senses put him above a lot of other young Polish forwards. Jarosz has a much higher ceiling than other forwards in a similar situation. Thought his most likely outcome is top-line forward in the PHL, with a middle-six role on the Polish national team.
Jarosz is an interesting talent, he seems to have all the tools to be one of the top guys in Poland, but he is overshadowed on his own team by the fantastic young forward depth that Jastrezbie has. While I think his most likely outcome is a top player in Poland, he has the toolset to possibly be a great player outside of Poland. The Rybnik native currently doesn’t stand out above other players though of similar status. Despite how good he is other players outshine him, thus he doesn’t earn as many chances on top lines and top powerplay opportunities. I would love to see him have a chance at being one of the top guys on a team somewhere just to see how he would do.