Tag: Jan Soltys

“Breakout Stars?” 2019-20 PHL Team Previews: JKH GKS Jastrzebie

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

JKH GKS Jastrzebie is the team that it would be great if every other PHL team could be them. They are the best at developing talent by far. This has created an amazing young core of talent that will have them being a contender for years to come if players stay.  Last year, after a strong start their season ended quickly at the hands of Cracovia Krakow. There is no doubt that they have the young talent and potential, but the production hasn’t been there. 40-year-old center Peter Fabus led the team in points last year. Fabus and Tomas Kominek were the only two players with more than 25 points last season and now both are gone. They found upgrades over both in my opinion, but if they’re going to win it all, they need their young talent to start producing offensively.

Forwards

Dominik Jarosz – Jesse Rohtla – Maciej Urbanowicz

Artem Iossafov – Radoslaw Sawicki  – Dominik Pas

Martin Kasperlík – Jan Soltys – Kamil Walega

Radoslaw Nalewajka – Kamil Wróbel – Patryk Pelaczyk

Other forwards: Lukasz Nalewajka, Patryk Matusik, Tomasz Kulas

The offense has a lot of young talent and they have done a better job of surrounding them with strong veterans then in years past. Jesse Rohtla is one of the biggest free-agent additions of the PHL offseason. The talented Finnish center spent the last two seasons with GKS Katowice ranking up 117 points during that time. That is the third-most points by a player in the PHL since the 2017-2018 season. He is the exact player that Jastrzebie needed. Rohtla was not the only major addition from GKS Katowice, as Maciej Urbanowicz joined the team as well. Urbanowicz returned to the team after four seasons away. The power forward is always good for around point per game production and someone younger players would really benefit from having on their wing. Now to the young talent that needs to start producing at high levels. Dominik Jarosz has been quite impressive in pre-season action scoring quite a few goals. The 20-year-old winger had only 15 points last year and did attract some national team attention. Dominik Pas is a great two-way player and strong forechecker. He has had 20 points in each of the past three seasons despite being only 19. Jan Soltys and Kamil Walega are one of the best duos in Polish hockey. The two have produced great numbers on the international stage and in the PHL. Both forwards will be leaders on Poland’s U20 team and should be leaders on Jastrzebie. If young talent produces at high levels this could be one of the most fierce offenses in the PHL.

Defensemen

Jakub Giminski – Henrich Jabornik

Kamil Gorny – Maris Jass 

Arkadiusz Kostek – Grzegorz Radzienciak

Jakub Michalowski – Kordian Chorazyczewski

This defense isn’t exciting but is still above average among PHL squads. Henrich Jabornik was the first new import to the PHL this year and is a pretty interesting player. Jabornik was a highly thought of player in his junior days, he appeared at the U18 IIHF championships and World Juniors for Slovakia. He has played in over 250 Tipsport Liga games, but has spent four years in the Erste Liga as well. There in Hungary, he has shown a lot more recording at least 10 goals and 17 assists in each season. Kamil Gorny is a really solid defensemen and maybe the best Polish defensemen on the roster. Gorny returns to JKH GKS Jastrzebie after a three-year stint with GKS Tychy. Maris Jass will be a fun player to watch this season. The veteran Latvian defensemen has played in 15 different hockey leagues and represented Latvia at plenty of international events. He is not afraid to play physical or rush up the ice. Jass plays an all-around solid game. Grzegorz Radzienciak is one of the best young defensemen in Poland. His defensive skills are ready for professional hockey, but the other end of his game has kinda flatlined since his final junior days. The defense is a lot of like of the offense featuring some strong young talent with the right amount of imports and veterans insulating them.

Goalies

Ondrej Raszka

David Marek

Oskar Prokop

In net JKH GKS Jastrzebie has a three-headed dragon of Czech goaltenders. Ondrej Raszka is the third best goalie in Poland behind Odrobny and Murray. It is a shame that he has yet to play a game for Poland at an IIHF event. He is the youngest of the three though so he has time. Raszka is vital to his team’s success and led the league in save percentage last year. A better team around him offensively should make his job easier. Now the back-up position is a bit odd to me. This offseason, Jastrzebie added young Czech goalie David Marek. Now Marek seemed to have an inconsistent career in the Czech junior leagues and lower Czech pro leagues. As a backup, I’m sure he will be fine. The thing that is odd to me is that the team also has Oskar Prokop. Prokop has a similar story to Raszka. A decent, but somewhat inconsistent career in the Czech Republic before coming over to Poland, and later representing team Poland. Prokop had a rough year last year, he only played 12 total games and was left off the roster for Poland at the U20 World Championships. I don’t know if he was injured or what was the reason for his lack of appearances. This year already Prokop has played two games in the first league, posting strong performances in each match. My guess is the goal is to allow him more playing time, while Marek can take the few times Raszka doesn’t play.

Prediction: 3rd

This team has an above-average offense and defense that is combined with one of the best goaltenders in Poland. Their team as it is should be a contender in the PHL, if young players are ready to start producing and contributing a lot more though this team could be in line for a championship run. That is betting on a lot of players taking big steps in their career.

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2019 Top 50 Men’s U23 Players. #2

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. In this part, we look at the player ranked second.

Player #3

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

2 – Jan Soltys (F), 19, JKH GKS Jastrzebie. The second player on my list is one who can do it all. Soltys has the best all-around game of any Polish player. The 5’11 forward is a perfect fit for North American hockey. He has a game that could make Don Cherry fall in love with a European player as his head explodes from trying to pronounce a Polish name.

solty goals

Soltys has been a staple of Poland’s junior teams since he was 16. He made his first IIHF appearance at the 2017 Division 1 Group B U18 World Championships. He was the youngest member of Poland at that tournament and recorded a goal and an assist. The following season he was named to both Poland’s U18 team and U20 squads. He captained the U18 team as they took silver in Division 2 Group A, recording three goals and four assists. At the U20s, he was once again the youngest member of a Polish national team. The only 2000 born player at the tournament for Poland recorded two goals in five games.

This year he was a crucial part of Poland’s U20 team again. He recorded three goals and two assists, tied with Kamil Walega for the second-most on the team. Soltys was an absolute beast in this tournament. He was the most physically dominant player at the tournament. He was also able to make his senior team debut this year playing two games. His play style really makes him a strong contender to make his senior World Championship debut soon.

 

 

 

Soltys has been playing a majority of his seasons in the PHL since he was 16. His age 16 season in 2015-16, saw him put up four goals and one assist in 31 games. He was the only 16 years old to play more than 15 games that year. The five points are tied, with Bartlomiej Jeziorski, for the 4th most points by a U17 player in PHL going back to 1990. The following year, he only played 28 games between Poland’s two pro leagues as Soltys was quite busy with many junior national team endeavors. He still recorded two goals and two assists in the 18 games at the PHL level for SMS U20 Katowice, which was part of a four-way tied for the team lead.

This year was really his breakout year offensively in the PHL. Anyone who saw him on the junior stage knew it was coming and he delivered in a massive way. This season between JKH GKS Jastrzebie and PZHL U23, Soltys had 22 points (8-14-22) in 38 games. This was tied for second in terms of points by a U20 player in the PHL, and the highest point per game. It ranks as the 7th highest point per game posted by an 18-year-old player in the PHL going back to 1990.

 

 

 

David Leger, the former head of Poland’s junior teams, was quite the fan of Soltys’ game. He had him at both the U18s and U20s in 2018. After the season, Leger commented on him, “He scored two big goals for us at the u20 tournament. I spent the whole year with him on the SMS team. Soltys is physically dominant, competes and battles, and not afraid to go to the net, plays very similar to a North American. Skates well and good puck skills. I was disappointed a little bit, I had a team contact me from the CHL asking about him and saw he wasn’t selected in the import draft. I think he would be really suited to play major junior hockey. I think he’s got a really bright future.

Soltys is an all-around great player with a complete toolset with no major flaw in his game. He is a strong skater which aids every facet of his game. I don’t think there is another junior player in Poland that throws some of the hits that he does. He is always going to forecheck and backcheck, usually winning that puck battle. Soltys annoys the opposition to the point they wish they chose football as a kid. His offensive skills have continued to improve tremendously. His puck skills now rank among the best for young Polish players. Soltys is going to be a star, no doubt in my mind.

 

While I may sound like a broken record in this list series saying players need to go aboard to develop, that applies to Soltys as well. The specific target in my mind for him would be to go to the United States Hockey League. The league is the top junior league in the United States. I think he would excel in this league and attract a lot of professional interest. For next season, Soltys will be a leader for Poland at the U20 World Championship, and probably get more senior national team games in. On the professional side, Soltys has been training with JKH GKS Jastrzebie. He is likely to play a more significant role for the team and spend less time with the PZHL u23 squad.

Player #1

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