Tag: Justyna Zyla

2021 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #20-16

We are now in the top 20 of the rankings. This group features one of the biggest risers and one of the highest new additions to the list. Compared to the men’s list, there is a lot of shake-up in the top 20 section. While most of this, I’ll attribute to covid years, quite a few young players really shot up the rankings. 

Players had to be under 20 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. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. Ninety-five players were considered for the list and reviewed, and fifty players received a ranking. Players 50-31 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 30 players receive a report.

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

20 – Alicja Sowa (F), 17, Polonia Bytom, (22, +2

Polonia Bytom players are sometimes hard to fully judge on stats due to the stacked nature of the team, especially with the number of veterans. Last year, Sowa’s numbers were down but she still managed three assists in eight games. She also scored her first career goal in Poland’s U16 league with Polonia Bytom. She likely would have been named to her third straight U18 squad if not for the tournament cancellation. Sowa will still be eligible for the U18s in 2022. 

19 – Julia Bujak (G), 18, Polonia Bytom, (Not Ranked)

Bujak jumps high on the list after she was likely to be the starting goalie for Poland at this year’s U18. There was not a lot to go on for young goalies last year. In both of her PLHK A appearances, she only played a combined 30 minutes but didn’t allow a goal in that time. She did play in two men’s u16 league games as well, allowing 16 goals, in matches Polonia Bytom lost 35-7. Again, there’s not much to say about a season with zero recorded full games. Throughout the year, Bujak was named to multiple U18 national teams battling for the number 1 spot but did not play in the games. Latvia. 

18 – Zofia Postel (D), 19, UKH Biale Jastrzebie, (19, +1)

 Zofia Postel moves up a spot on the list in her final year. The two-way defender followed her strong 2020 season with a similar 2021, posting seven assists in 13 games. It was a career-high in points, but the first season she failed to score a goal in the PLHK. Four of her assists were also primary assists, a new career-high. Her size will always work against her, and skating will need to improve, but she showed a lot of great reads and passing ability this year. Making those key passes and breakouts already put her ahead of many Polish defensewomen. 

17 – Anna Kot (D), 17, Unia Oswiecim, (17, +0)

Kot is staying even with her ranking this year. Kot is one of the best U18 defenders in Poland, and its a shame she has missed out on two U18 tournaments. She will turn 18 at the beginning of next year too, so 2022 will be her final U18 team appearance. She did play in Poland U18’s two games against Latvia U18, picking up one assist. In her PLHK season, Kot recorded one assist in 11 games. In the playoffs, her production picked up with two goals and an assist in five games. A rising star in the Polish ranks, expect to start watching her for some senior chances in just the next couple of years. 

Anna Kot Shot and Assist vs Latvia U18

16 – Justyna Zyla (F), 16, Unia Oswiecim (26, +10

From one Osiwiecim player to the next on our list. Zyla has long been playing in high-level situations at such a young age, and during the 2020-21 season, she had her breakout year. Oswiecim was the lowest-scoring team in PLHK A, but Zyla still managed a new career-high in points with two goals and assist in 12 games, and then five goals in five games during the PLHK playoffs. Add in a solid junior season, and Zyla really started to show she is ready for top-line chances. This included what would have been her second U18 tournament last year, but she will be another player to miss multiple U18s due to the pandemic.

Justyna Zyla Goal vs. Latvia

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2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #30-20

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we start our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Honorable Mentions (In No Order): Aleksandra Górska, Antonina Puchowska, Wiktoria Kedra, and Julia Grzelak

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

30 – Adriana Solecka (RW), 19, SKKH Atomówki GKS Tychy, (Unranked)

Solecka returned to Tychy this year after playing with Janow for the past two seasons. After recording 0 points in 9 games with Janow in the PLHK A, she put up 5 points (2-3-5) in 14 games for Tychy. After some time apart, she is appearing to become a solid forward for Tychy.

29 – Julia Zaborowska (D), 17, KH Polonia Bytom, (Unranked)

Zaborowska made her IIHF debut this year for Poland at the U18s as part of a very good defensive core. I can’t recall her doing any bad, but also nothing that really stood out, which is probably best for a non-offensive defenseman. Her season in Poland was not much either as she only played three games for Polonia.

28 – Olga Jaskulska (F), 15, GKS Stoczniowiec Gdańsk, (Unranked)

Jaskulska was able to earn a larger role in Gdańsk this year and recorded her first three assists in the top Polish women’s league. She also was able to slightly up her production at the junior level from 11 points (7-4-13) to 13 points (7-6-13). Jaskulska is still a very young player, and her play at the top level shows some potential. She will most likely be able to earn a spot on the U18 squad in the coming years.

27 – Katarzyna Zaborska (D), 17, UKHK Unia Oświęcim, (Unranked)

Zaborska looked a lot better at the U18s this year, and well I don’t really believe in plus-minus, she was one of only three Polish players to finish positive. She also had a much stronger season for Oświęcim finishing with 5 points (4-1-5) in 15 games, compared to 3 points (1-2-3) in 17 games last season. I feel she could be a solid two-way player for Poland.

26 – Justyna Zyla (F), 15, UKHK Unia Oświęcim, (Unranked)

The youngest and second smallest player on Poland’s U18 squad was impressive at times during the U18s. While her stat sheet was pretty blank with only one shot, she showed she should definitely be back on team Poland next year. She also notched two goals for Oświęcim, during her club season.

25 – Karolina Rostalska (D), 19, UKH Białe Jastrzębie, (16, -9)

Karolina has one of the biggest drops from the list last year. Last year she had an okay showing at the U18s aided by a strong season with UKH Białe Jastrzębie. This year her production dropped by 6 points and her penalty minutes tripled. Along with the number of defenders that impressed at the U18s, her drop was inevitable.

24 – Alicja Kopciara (F), 18, SKKH Atomówki GKS Tychy, (8, -16)

Kopciara had drops in production at both the U18 level and with Tychy. After posting 3 points (2-1-3) at the U18s last year, this year she went pointless at the event. Kopciara was a force last year in the PLHK with 9 goals in 17 games, but only recorded 2 goals in 4 games this year. A lack of production at the u18s and lack of playing during the regular season are the reasons for her drop, but she remains a very strong goal scorer.

23 – Alicja Mota (F), 16, KH Polonia Bytom, (Unranked)

The soon to be 16-year-old is already a three time champion in Poland with Polonia Bytom. Mota posted career highs in games played, goals, assists, and points this year with Polonia after recording 5 points (2-3-5) in 15 games. She also represented Poland at the U18s, but only recorded 4 penalty minutes. She showed some potential at the tournament but was too often overmatched. She also represented Poland at the youth Olympics.

22 – Alicja Sowa (F), 16, KH Polonia Bytom, (Unraked) 

Sowa was apart of the worst line at the 2019 U18s, but that was not the case in 2020. Her play drastically improved, though Poland was much better defensively overall. Sowa’s biggest jump came with Polonia. This year she recorded 8 points (1-7-8) in 15 games to help Polonia to first place. This was after she was pointless in 10 games the previous year.

21 – Julia Łapińska (F), 15, GKS Stoczniowiec Gdańsk, (Unranked)

At just 14 years old, Lapinska was able to finish top 25 in PLHK scoring. She had a great year for Gdańsk recording 13 points (6-7-13) in 10 games. This included good performances at the junior level as well. She is very short at 4’9 and likely her height contributed to her being left off the U18 squad, but I have no doubt if she keeps up her production she will make the team next year.

20 – Magdalena Łąpieś (F), 14, GKS Stoczniowiec Gdańsk, (Unranked)

Lapies legit turns 14 on March 15th, the 13-year-old finished top 15 in PLHK scoring with 24 points (8-16-24) in 15 games. Lapies comes out of a promising Lodz youth hockey program that is continuing to pump out a lot of great talent. She has produced at a strong rate anywhere she has gone. She will likely be joining the Polish U18 squad very soon.

Players #19-15

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