Tag: Jakub Worwa

2022 Top 80 Men’s U23 Players. #40-31

We’re now in the top 40! The players in this part mostly grade out as PHL quality players, appearing in middle six for forwards, top four for defensemen, and split starters for goalies. We also see a few young players taking double-digit jumps, including the biggest riser in the entire ranking. The rankings start to take shape at this point, and all players easily made the top 50 while the gaps widen. 

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 80-51
Players 50-41

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

40 – Kacper Macias (D), 19, HC Poruba U20, (NR)

Kacper Macias missed out on being ranked last year after he only played in six Czechia U20 2 games. In 2022, with an entire season, he was able to make a quiet impact on Poruba. It is always a bit hard to judge when a player is playing in a country’s second level of junior hockey, but we have seen plenty of Polish players come out of the Poruba system. In total, the 19-year-old defenseman posted 21 points (7G-14A-21PTS) in 43 games. His 21 points were 15th among defensemen in the league. 

Macias primary assist vs. France U20 D1B

Macias also represented Poland at the U20 Division 1 Group B World Championships. In five games, he posted a single assist. It was an interesting year, but not one I got a lot of film to watch. When we turn to point production matches, we don’t see much. Most of his matches played in the third level of Czechia hockey or lower, with only 7% playing in the Chance Liga. Macias will have more substantial chances in Poland to play professionally, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a solid PHL defenseman. 

39 – Jan Krzyżek (F), 21, GKS Tychy (42, +3

In a year with so many significant rises and falls due to COVID, Krzyżek only sees his stock rise by three. He split the year between Tychy’s PHL and MHL squads, as most U23 players do. In the PHL, he set a new career-high in games played with 25. In those 25 games, he did record two assists. It gives him one more point than last year. The big body Krzyżek usually played in low-minute defensive roles for Tychy.

Krzyżek Goal vs. ŁKH Łódź MHL

The German-born forward played a lot bigger role in the MHL. There in just 12 games, he recorded 25 points (14G-11A-25PTS). His 2.1 point per game average was the best of his MHL career. But as a player over 20, I don’t give too much weight to MHL numbers. Krzyżek will be staying with GKS Tychy next year. I think his ceiling is a second line forward in Poland, but his size could open more doors possibly. 

38  – Sebastian Lipiński (G), 22, Peterborough Phantoms 2 (24, -14

Lipiński had long been ranked as the top goalie in my list, but that streak has ended. He comes in as our third-ranked goalie. Lipinski left Poland this year for his first season abroad, ending up in the fourth level of British ice hockey, the NIHL 2. In 20 regular season games, the 6’1 goalie posted a .928 save percentage, and he also put up a .908 save percentage in 3 playoff games. His regular season save percentage was the third best among goalies, just behind former Premier League goalie Petr Cech. 

The league is what it is, and I’m not sure how to judge performances in such a low level. His drop in the ranking is primarily due to the competition being much weaker than the PHL. He did get to play a lot this year, and it led him back to Poland in the end. He signed with Zaglebie Sosnowiec for the 2023 season and beyond. He should be able to compete with Patrick Spensy next year for starts.  

37 – Filip Plonka (G), 19, UKH Unia Oswiecim (45, +8

Before I get into the report, I want to note that Plonka’s rise is mainly due to how I valued goalies versus skaters for the 2022 rankings after I believe they were undervalued in past lists. Plonka has continued to serve as the third goalie in Oswiecim while needing more time against senior competition. His only PHL action this year was in October, when he stopped all six shots he faced against Sosnowiec. He was also left off the Polish U20 team for the U20 D1B World Championship. 

Plonka Savs vs. Zaglebie Sosnowiec PHL

 He mostly performed in the MHL for UKH Unia Oswiecim. There in 12 games, he posted a .866 save percentage, which was 2nd among 19-year-old goalies in the league. In the MHL, he often faced close to 40 shots a game, with his lowest total in a complete game being 27 twice. Plonka did finish the year strong, posting a .903 save percentage in the CLJ finals.  His past seasons are carrying a lot of weight in the ranking.

36 – Blazej Chodor (D), 17, SMS PZHL Katowice (78, +42

Chodor is the biggest riser in this year’s rankings. I usually don’t even rank players in their 15-year-old season who just turned 16 in time to be ranked. Last year though, there was no way to me that Chodor was not in the top 80. After another year of success, he now climbs to the top 40. Chodor has excellent size and is a strong skater who isn’t afraid to get physical. He spent the year playing for various Polish junior teams. For SMS PZHL Katowice in the MHL, he posted 14 points (6G-8A-14PTS) in 21 games. This was second among all 16-year-old defensemen. 

Chodor goal vs. ŁKH Łódź MHL

He then went on to play for Poland Team U16, which competes in Czechia U17 2. There, he posted 10 points (3G-7A-10PTS) in 21 games. His .47 point per game average was 17th among all defenders. He also represented Poland at the U18 Division 1 Group B World Championships going pointless in five games. Chodor has a lot of potential and would be my current pick for the Polish junior player to best succeed in North America. He needs more experience in stronger leagues, especially to improve his defensive awareness.

35 – Mateusz Ubowski (F), 21, GKS Tychy (35, +0) 

Ubowski is one of the trio of young Tychy forwards that continue to fight for a shot at playing time with the top club. This year he earned plenty of more chances than last year. He played in 29 games, recording two assists while most playing on the lower lines. He also recorded 11 points (5G-6A-11PTS) at the MHL level. However, it was age 20 season and lower than his age 19 production. 

Ubowski seems like a great fit to be a middle-six forward in the PHL. It will be a prolonged rise up the lineup if he continues to play for GKS Tychy. We saw one of his teammates, Kacper Gruzla, choose to leave for a more significant chance. That might be what Ubowski needs, as it will be hard to see him getting a lot of opportunities unless put on a loan to another club. 

34 – Stanisalw Drozd-Niekurzak (F), 20, Partille HK J20 (59, +25) 

Drozd-Niekurzak has bounced around several junior leagues, teams, and countries over the past few years. He landed back in Sweden with Partille HK J20 for the 2022 season. The 19-year-old forward put up 13 points (5G-8A-13PTS) in 11 games. He also took some baby steps into senior hockey, playing in 10 games in Sweden’s Division 3, where he recorded two goals and three assists. This was his best year in Sweden and the most production he has shown over the past few seasons. 

He capped off his season as the assistant captain for Poland at the U20 World Championships. There in five games, he recorded one assist. It has been hard to get a proper hold of what Drozd-Niekurzak could develop into with his multiple short stints at quite a few clubs. Right now, I believe his ceiling is his second-line forward in the PHL. His wealth of experience in Germany and Sweden should assist him tremendously. 

33 – Krystian Lisowski (F), 17, Kiekko-Espoo U18 Ch (NR) 

Lisowski makes his debut in the top 40, one of the highest debut rankings of all time. He is a player that could rocket into a top spot next year. Lisowski played in the U18 SM-sarja in 2022, the top level of U18 hockey in Finland. There in 44 games, he recorded 26 goals and 12 assists. His 38 points tied for 38th in the league among all skaters, and it was 7th among 16-year-olds. His 26 goals lead all 16-year-old skaters and are seventh among all skaters. He also played in one game at the U20 level where he scored one goal. He also represented Poland at the U18s, where he went pointless in five games. 

Lisowski has a more significant amount of production comparables and they show a lot of promise. 3.5% of his matches went on to become NHL players. Included in the group are Markus Hännikäinen and Rasmus Kupari. Quite a few of his matches were recent NHL draft picks as well. While the NHL chance is low, it’s still great for Polish players and one of the highest among all Polish skaters this decade in their age 16 seasons. What I find more promising is that 50 percent of his matches went to at least play one entire season in the Liiga or NHL. Even then, 79.3% of his matches played in the Metsis or above. Lisowski appears to have a strong chance at being a very impactful player in Finland or worldwide. 

32 – Jakub Worwa (F), 23, Podhale Nowy Targ (47, +15) 

Jakub Worwa is a player I have watched the past few years, waiting for a season when he finally put it all together. This year, he scored five goals and assisted on six in 31 games. Podhale Nowy Targ was in a rough state for 2022, and his point total was fifth among forwards on the squad. The Italy-born forward posted a point per game average of .36. Which was the highest of his career and the fourth best among U23 skaters in the PHL.

Worwa goal vs. GKS Tychy PHL

When looking at production comparables for the PHL only, most of his matches have gone on to post career point per game averages of around .40 in the PHL. At this point, a middle-six forward in Poland seems to be his ceiling. It will be interesting to see where he ends up for next PHL season.

31 – Miłosz Noworyta (D), 23, Unia Oswiecim, (30, -1

Noworyta has now appeared in the PHL in parts of seven seasons. He has only become a full-time PHL defenseman in the past few seasons. This year was a new career high in games played with 52 games. In his fifty-plus games, he recorded three assists, which is also a career-high in points. The stay-home defenseman plays his role well but still finds himself in Oswiecim’s bottom pairings. The floor is a bottom-six defender in Poland, and he will have a long line of stay-at-home defenders to beat to rise the ranks.

Noworyta primary assist vs. Zagłębie Sosnowiec PHL

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2021 Top 50 Men’s U23 Players. #50-41

Last year I thought the list was difficult because a few players missed playoff games or international tournaments. This year was even more challenging as some players did not play at all. Lots of players saw their season cut short or never get started. In Poland, hockey was able to be played with both the PHL and MHL completing their seasons.

I thought about skipping the list this year because many of the top young players maybe saw their years canceled as they play abroad. I ended up looking at it similar to a player with a season-ending injury. A lot of players lost a crucial year of development. Their sacrifice will hopefully be understood with coaches as they play a bit of catch-up.

With that said, there was a lot of hockey played, with plenty of players taking significant steps in their careers. At the same time, plenty of others have been a part of an action-packed offseason and moving up levels. It is time for the top 50 U23 players of 2021. 

Players had to be under the age of 23 and at least 16-years-old on June 30th, 2021. Players are judged 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 own opinion, numerous people in the Polish hockey world 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.

Honorable Mentions (In No Order): Patryk Pelaczyk, Marcin Plachetka, Lukasz Kaminski, Patryk Wysocki, Paweł Bizub. 

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

50. Oliwier Kasperek (D), 19, MOSM Tychy (Not Ranked) 

Kasperek makes his first appearance on the list after just missing a ranking last year. The young defensemen would have certainly been vying for a spot on Poland’s U20 roster. He did play for the U20 team in their two games at Opole HK. He had a cup of coffee with GKS Tychy playing in 4 games. Most of his time was spent with MOSM Tychy in the MHL. There he recorded 13 points (2G-11A-13PTS) in 29 games. His regular-season point total was tied for sixth among MHL U20 defensemen. 

49. Michał Kusak (F), 17, HC Karlovy Vary U17 (Not Ranked)

From one non-ranked player to the next, Michal Kusak makes the top 50. Kusak left Poland at 14, to play in the top U17 level in Czechia. In his third year at the U17 level, It appeared Kusak was going to have a breakout season with 5 points (1G-4A-5PTS) in his first four games. The rest of the season was canceled. Kusak returned to Poland, putting up a similar performance with 5 points (1G-4A-5PTS) in 3 games during the junior level postseason. 

48. Patryk Gosztyla (D), 22, Cracovia Krakow (51, +3)

Gosztyla came over to Krakow last year from the Slovak junior system. At the time, Krakow was looking to inject more young Polish talent into their lineup. Despite that, regular playing time found itself hard to come by for the 6’2 defender in his first season. 2021 proved to be better as he played 28 games while recording one assist. The stay-at-home defenseman has continued to improve his game slightly. He is not close to a national team contributor yet. Next year at 22, he will need a break-out season. 

47. Jakub Worwa (F), 22, Podhale Nowy Targ (66, +19)

While it may seem like Worwa is getting a big jump. This is mainly due to staying healthy after just playing 12 games in 2020. I was very excited to see Worwa play this year after posting 6 points the previous year in just 12 games. In 36 games this year, he recorded three goals and four assists. This production is down from 2019 when he posted 11 points as a 19-year-old. He still finished 13th in scoring among u22 players. The power-forward has a make-or-break year in 2022. 

46. Dawid Wróblewski (F), 19, JKH GKS Jastrzebie (Not Ranked) 

Wróblewski has many positive assets at his disposal. These include good size at 6’4, and strong offensive instincts. In past years, he was always someone hard to leave unranked. It came down to putting it all together when he was playing at higher levels. This year the Polish forward with US citizenship found himself loaned to Polonia Bytom in the MHL. He was more than impressive. His 26 points (12G-14A-26PTS) in 21 games were tied for fifth among u20 players in the MHL. He also added 18 points (7G-11A-18PTS) in 6 games during the CLJ postseason. I hope to see him receive a cup of coffee in the PHL next year. 

45. Filip Plonka (G), 19, Unia Oswiecim (73, +28)

Our first goalie on the list! Again this year, I wanted to give more credit to the goalies. Plonka made headlines last year when he recorded his first PHL shutout in his first game at 16-years-old. While this year was a bit step back statistically. Almost all goalies declined in the MHL this year. His .892 SV% was still seventh in the MHL, among players with at least five games. With Lipinski departing, it seems Plonka is the pick of the future in Oswiecim. 

44. Wiktor Bochnak (F), 20, AZ Havirov U20 (52, +8)

Bochnak has spent most of his junior career in Czechia. Thus he has been able to work his way up the system. He has played at the top level of junior hockey in the country since he was 16. His numbers during that time were not always eye-popping. Before the Czech system shut down for the year, Bochnak played in six pointless games. He ended the year on a high note after returning to Poland. With Podhale, he posted 26 points (14G-12A-26PTS) in just 12 games across the MHL and CLJ.  

43. Michał Nawrocki (F), 18, Sokoly Torun (76, +33)

Nawrocki had a solid couple of years in the German junior ranks. This year he was set to test his skills in Sweden’s J18 Div.1 with Kalix HC J18, but most levels of Swedish hockey were canceled. Nawrocki managed to get in 6 games recording a goal and an assist but not much time to show what he has. He would return to Tourn and play in Poland’s junior system. In the MHL, he recorded 9 points (4G-5A) in 11 games. The third best point per game average among U18 MHL skaters. The Gdansk native also netted 17 points in 16 games across other Polish junior contests. 

42. Jan Krzyzek (F), 21, GKS Tychy (34, -8)

Last year the big german-born forward played at almost every level with a lot of success. This year was split between the GKS Tychy and their MHL team. In 18 PHL games with Tychy, he recorded one goal. While down from his three goals the previous year, he had a lesser role with Tychy than PZHL u23. At the junior level, it was a different story.  His 1.70 PPG was the 5th best by a U20 player in the MHL. Krzyzek was explosive in the postseason with 15 points (9G-6A-15PTS) in 8 CLJ games of play. At 21 next year, we will need to see some of his production start to shown through at the senior level. 

41. Szymon Dobosz (F), 19 STS Sanok, (45, +4)

Dobosz was able to play the majority of this year at the senior level for STS Sanok. In those 26 games, he did go pointless. I’m not too worried about that, given the level of talent he was surrounded by in Sanok. In the MHL, his 12 points in 7 games resulted in the highest points per game average among all players in their first draft-eligible year. Dobosz was at the weird place of too good for junior hockey but not good enough for top-level senior hockey yet. Unfortunately, in Poland, there is not an excellent place for those players.

Players 40-31

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“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.

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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