Tag: Jakub Worwa

“Roller Coaster Offseason” 2019-20 PHL Team Previews: Podhale Nowy Targ

Leading up to the start of 2019-20 season, we will preview every team in the PHL

Podhale stayed on their normal course last year playing for a bronze medal for a fifth straight season. The offseason got underway with the expected departure of head coach Tomek Valtonen. Then rumors started to spread about the team in regards to their finances. Top players like Mateusz Michalski, Oskar Jaskiewicz, and Patryk Wajda departed for GKS Katowice and more departures seemed likely. Then Phillip Barski was named head coach and Podhale was able to retain the rest of their core. Drama would arise once again though when it came to getting a license to play in the PHL, and Podhale would only receive theirs at the last minutes. A couple of days before the team would fully ramp up their training and begin to play exhibition games news broke that they had requested some veteran Polish players to take a pay cut. Polish hockey legends Krzysztof Zapala and Marcin Kolusz would leave the club because of this. More departures were expected, but none came to light while the team added more import players. A true roller coaster of an offseason, but how will that affect the team on the ice?

Forwards 

Bartlomiej Neupauer – Krystian Dziubinski – Tomas Kominek

Richard Jencik – Emil Svec -Dariusz Gruszka

Emil Svec – Tomas Franek – Jakub Worwa

Kacper Guzik – Filip Hudak – Filip Wielkiewicz

Other forwards: Adrian Pawel Slowakiewicz, Daniel Kapica, Dylan Willick, and Lukasz Siuty

The offense saw one major late departure in Zapala, maybe two depending on where you play Kolusz. I think they did an adequate job of replacing lost talent here. The forward group is not the best in the PHL, but is above average. Krystian Dziubinski is one of the best skaters and two way forwards in Poland. Bartlomiej Neupauer is quite a strong offensive producer and has been very impressive during his time with the national team. Dariusz Gruszka returns to Podhale and should hopefully see his production increase after a disappointing year with Unia Oswiecim. Tomas Kominek is the biggest import addition after spending the past three seasons with JKH GKS Jastrzebie. Richard Jencik should be a major import contributor as well. Jakub Worwa is Podhale’s best young forward and I would like to see him have quite a larger role this season. Again the offense is above average, there are no glaring holes in it.

Defensemen

Samu Suominen – Maciej Sulka

Robert Mrugala – Santeri Arousva

Jason Seeed – Yevgeni Kamenev

Other defensemen: Patryk Wsol

The defense took a lot of hits, only one of the Finnish defensemen from last year returned and they saw the major departures of Dutka, Kolusz, Jaskiewicz, and Wajda. Samu Suominen was one of the best Finnish defensemen last year and is really good re-signing for Podhale. Maciej Sulka is a decent add from JKH GKS Jastrzebie, but only really a Dutka replacement. Santeri Arousva is an interesting import addition, Metsis alumni have had quite a bit of success in the PHL. Arousva should be able to hold down a top-four spot in the PHL. Yevgeni Kamenev is an interesting prospect and I had him ranked 36th in my top 50 U23 Polish player rankings. He was a really good junior prospect but has struggled at the professional level. This defense lacks top-end players and could use some depth. It really is the only major problem the team has.

Goalies

Przemyslaw Odrobny

Blazej Kapica

Pawel Bizub

The witcher is still in net so there is nothing to worry about. Przemyslaw Odrobny is the best goalie in Polish hockey and will help Podhale stay in any game. It is hard to say what they have in a backup. Blazej Kapica has struggled at times this pre-season but also recorded a .929 save percentage in seven PHL games last year.

Prediction: 6th

The worse finish for Podhale since 2013-14. A weak defense and an offense that well not bad, is worse than last year has Podhale finishing sixth in my rankings. There isn’t much young talent to bet on, but some imports may be able to lead them to a higher place. Podhale is currently in a rebuild. They need to find new leaders and build up new young talent. More chances for the Worwas and Kamenevs.

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2019 Top 50 Polish Men’s U23 Players. #50-45

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. There are only a few rules.

  • The cutoff date for age was the final day of the Division 1 Group B World Championships
  • No players that are under the age of 16
  • Rankings are based on a mixture of current play and potential

Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical Order): Bartosz Florczak (Defensemen, Sanok), Filip Mazurkiewicz (Forward, Torun), Kamil Sikora (Left Wing, Zaglebie Sosnowiec), Michal Cychowski (Forward, Krefelder EV 1981 U17), Maciej Miarka (Goalie, SMS Katowice), Mateusz Wawrzkiewicz (Forward, Tampa Bay Juniors), Milosz Kuszynski (Forward, ECC Preussen Berlin), and Pawel Oblonski (Forward, Skedvi/Säter)

Rank – Player Name, Age During Next Hockey Season, Team

#50 – Piotr Pawel Ciechanowski, 20, ES Weißwasser U20. We start of the list with a player who could be described as the black sheep of Polish prospects. Ciechanowski gained attention by finishing 8th in DNL2 (Germany) scoring in 2015-16 before making the jump to Denmark for 2 years, where he played some professional hockey in the Danish second league. He returned to Germany last season, where he had 20 points (8G, 12A) in 30 games. His junior career is over and ended without representing Poland once at an IIHF event, but was on the roster for many non-IIHF tournaments. Ciechanowski has played abroad for a long time and it will be interesting to see where he lands now that his junior career is over.

#49 – Alexis Svitac, 23, Orlik Opole. The son of former Polish hockey olympian Andrzej Svitac, has now played in Poland for 3 years without making much of a mark. In Podhale, he wasn’t afforded too many top chances, while in Opole the team eventually went bankrupt having him playing with a roster of scraps and random loans. He was selected to be apart of PZHL U23 this year in some exhibition games that later got canceled. He has a good skill set, but both a lack of chances and development on his part make hard to see Svitac donning the eagle on his chest.

#48 – Jakub Worwa, 20, Podhale Nowy Targ. Worwa has bounced around a lot in his short career and that has always not always allowed him to get comfortable and showcase his skills, but this year with Podhale Worwa finally got his long term short. He did well in it putting up 11 points (3G, 8A) in 37 games, while adding 3 more assists in 15 playoff games. He also represented Poland at the U20 World Championships, for the second time, picking up one assist. Worwa is a player I definitely hope that I continue to see more of in larger roles, he has already re-signed with Podhale for 2019-20.

#47 – Dawid Musiol, 22, Cracovia Krakow. Musiol has been a favorite of national team coaches for a while. He has played twice at the U18 and U20 World Championships, along with getting some senior games this year. I imagine he will return to Naprzod Janow for the following season. Musiol has a lot of great qualities to his game, but a share of weaknesses. His role on the national team will be more in the bottom pairing.

#46 – Patryk Pelaczyk, 21, JKH GKS Jastrzebie. Pelaczyk is one of the biggest players in Polish hockey at 6’5 227 lbs and when he uses that size to forecheck look out. He impressed me at the 2017-18 World Juniors with his forechecking ability. He needs to be more consistent in using his size though. This year he started to score more, but only when away from Jastrzebie. In 19 games with Jastrezebie he had 1 goal in 19 games, away on loan to PZHL u23 and Orlik Opole he had 11 points (6G, 5A) in 22 games. I hope he gets more of an opportunity next season with Jastrezebie. There will also always be value with him to the Polish national team through his size as a forechecker and net-front presence.

#45 – Dominik Olszewski, 20, KH Torun. Olszewski used to be higher on my list after impressing in foreign Germany and American leagues, while also having a strong showing at the 2015-2016 U18s. Olszewski game has continued to grow but has had a slide in my rankings after disappointing production in the PHL and with Poland U20. In 45 PHL games, he has 5 points (3G, 2A), and only 2 points (1G, 1A) in 15 U20 World Championship games. He is able to still carve up lesser leagues as shown by his 2.70 ppg in Poland’s U20 league, which was the third best in the league. I have a lot of faith in Torun right now and their roster, now that the three big Russians are gone though I hope Olszewski gets maybe some higher offensive chances.

Players 44-39      Players 20-17

Players 38-33      Players 16-13

Players 32-27      Players 12-10

Players 26-21      Players 9-8

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