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. This is part 2 of the series as we look at the players ranked 32 through 27.
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team
#32 – Armen Khoperia (D), 19, Zaglebie Sosnowiec. Khoperia really took a step forward this season and proved that he should be playing in the PHL next season. At such a young age, it is a good sign with how well both ends of his games have developed. He still has a lot to learn but should be one of Poland’s best defensemen at the U20 World Championship next year. He will also likely spend a lot of the year with PZHL U23. I think he is a really good piece for other young defensemen to be around. A trustable defensive partner.
#31 – Kamil Wróbel (C), 22, JKH GKS Jastrzebie. Another player on the list from Jastrzebie. Wrobel previously shot up in my rankings after a strong 2016-17 season, he had 10 goals and 4 assists in 36 games. He was also a leader for Poland at the U20 World Championships finished tied for 3rd on the team in points with 5 (4G, 1A). There were a lot of high hopes for him going into 2017-18, but he regressed and only managed 5 goals and 3 assists in 35 games. This year though, Wrobel re-emerged with 11 goals and 16 assists in 45 games. This tied him with Patryk Krezolek for the most points by a U23 player in Poland. Wrobel is an all-around strong player and should be a leader on Jastrezebie next season. He was named to the roster for Poland once during the 2018-19 season, and I imagine we will see more of him with team Poland next year.
#30 – Mateusz Bezwinski (F/D), 18, SMS Torun. Bezwinski is a special player because of his ability to play forward and defense. He would be considered a top prospect at either of his positions. This year, with SMS Torun, he had 21 goals in 23 games in Poland’s second league. That is a remarkable feat, especially at his young age. It was the most goals by any U18 player in the league. He kept the scoring going by recording 5 goals and 5 assist at the U18s. He reportedly may move up to the PHL next year and is training with Cracovia Krakow. At the U18s, he was used as a forward, while it appears that he was used as a defenseman by SMS Torun this year. It will be interesting to see what position they use him in at Cracovia. I feel he would be best suited to continue at forward, given his goal-scoring ability.
#29 – Fabian Kapica (F), 17, ETC Crimmitschau U17. The youngest player on my list and one of the few who has yet to play for Poland at an IIHF event yet. Kapica was already a highly regarded in prospect in Poland, but his stock reached new heights when he moved to the German junior leagues. In the second level of the U16 league, he had 4 goals and 5 assist in his single game there. At the top U16 league, Kapica had 22 goals and 19 assists in 16 games. Kapica has not stopped his offensive run through of the German junior leagues. In the top u17 league with Crimmitschau U17, he led the North Qualification Round in points with 16 (7G, 9A). Kapica finished the year with 10 goals and 18 assists in 28 games. This season should be the one where we see Kapica make his debut for team Poland as he continues to move up the German junior system.
#28 – Michal Narog (D), 18, SMS Torun. Narog has to be the player that had the most significant rise in their stock this year. In 2016-17, Narog was still considered a fine defensive prospect, but nothing special. This year he exploded on to the scene and put up incredible numbers. In 23 games in the Polish second league, Narog posted 11 goals and 19 assists. At the U18s in a line up that was loaded with other strong offensive defensemen, Narog managed to outproduce them with a whopping 2 goals and 10 assists in 5 games. This was the third most points in the entire tournament. Narog needs to get some playing time with a stronger team and possibly stronger league. His offensive ability is awe-inspiring. He is really good at walking the defensive line and is almost like a quarterback at the back end.
#27 – Lukasz Krzemien (C), 22, Polonia Bytom. I have a lot of respect for Krzemien. In what was an awful year for Polonia Bytom due to to their financial conditions, he stuck by the team and lead the players at such a young age. He put the struggling team on his back and tried to get as much out of the experience as possible. Numerous stars and longtime players of Polonia continued to leave, but not Krzemien. He stayed with the sinking ship. He led the team in points with 20 (8G, 12A). Krzemien will now be moving on to a stronger club in Unia Oswiecim. He is a talented player who deserves more of an actual shot to show what he can do. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was able to earn a roster spot on a Euro Ice Hockey Challenge team next year.