Tag: Klaudiusz Libik

2021 Top 50 Men’s U23 Players. #30-21

The top 50 list continues to march on as the hockey season as already started. We are starting to hit the big names on the list. In this list, I separate players into four tiers based on their floors. The fourth and last tier are players ranked 80-50. These are players I feel will have a chance to make the PHL, but no guarantee. The third tier is players I think will have PHL careers but will not be your top-line players. The second tier is players I view with a chance to become top liners in Poland. The first and final tiers are your players I feel can be good players or stars outside of Poland. Right now, we are just about at the end of tier 3. 

The next set of players are primarily big risers. Only two of the following ten players fell in our rankings. When I say big risers, I mean it as well. Some of the players next up are the players I underestimated the most. We got to see a majority of the players spend their entire season in the PHL. 

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 opinion, numerous Polish hockey people 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.

Players 50-41

Players 40-31

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

30 – Miłosz Noworyta (D), 22, Unia Oświęcim, (27, -3) 

Noworyta has made appearances for Oswiecim for the past three years, working his way to a full-time roster member last season. This year, he still spent more than a majority of his time with the senior squad. But found himself mostly relegated to the fourth line of defense with his older brother. He also missed a few games and played a couple of matches at the MHL level. His defensive play is the most notable highlight of his game, while his offensive game is lacking. While with the team, Unia Oswiecim has become more and more of a force in the PHL. They have continued to bring in better defenders ahead of him, which has played a part in dampening his development. 

29 – Konrad Filipek (F), 22, STS Sanok (32, +3)

Filipek has slowly been working his way up the Sanok system playing with the club in the MHL and third tier of Slovak hockey. Now this year, he finally got a full-time shot at the senior level of the PHL. He responded with a goal and five assists in 36 games. It was 6th among points for players his age. His late birthday allowed him to play at international events in Poland as one of the most mature players. Which always helped him stand out a bit. Now he is showing that was not the only reason why though. He does turn 22 in the middle of the season, he will need to show he belongs higher up the line up soon.

28 – Krystian Mocarski (F), 22, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (55, +27) 

The Gdansk situation was not going to be an easy one for most players. A couple of players smashed it out of the park though, one of them was Krystian Mocarski. Mocarski had an excellent year for the blue and white in northern Poland. In total, he recorded eight goals and seven assists in 36 games. It was tied for 9th among U23 PHL players in terms of points, and his .42 PPG game average was 11th among U23 skaters. It was also second on all of Gdansk for points. Plus his total was also tied 44th among all Polish forward since the 2010 season in points per game. Next year Mocarski is moving to a much better Sanok team, and I’m excited to see how it goes. 

27 – Jakub Blanik (F), 21, Zaglebie Sosnowiec (20, -7)

Last year Blanik went to Sosnowiec in search of more chances after he was deemed too small for JKH GKS Jastrzebie. It was a breakout year for the 5’7 forward who posted 7 points in 17 games with Sosnowiec, though he was also pointless in 13 games with PZHL U23. This year, he was scheduled to get a more significant role with Sosnowiec on their weaker roster. Blanik was one of the players that suffered from a watered down roster, as he posted a meager two goals and one assist in 31 games. His .10 point per game average was 30th among U23 PHL forwards. This was a rough year for a good player, who should be able to recover. 

26 – Adrian Gromadzki (F), 17, HC Dynamo Pardubice U17 (NR)

Gromadzki would have been ranked last year if he met the age requirement. He was, unfortunately, playing in a Czechia junior system that shut down less than ten games in. He recorded three goals and four assists in his five games, Which were 9th among players in points per game that played five games in their draft-eligible -2 season. He has got the size and offensive touch that will get him attention outside Poland. He is set to play at the Czech U20 level next season. 

25 – Jakub Bukowski (F), 21, STS Sanok (64, +36)

Bukowski has long been a good player for a long time abroad, but it was mainly in the second level of junior leagues in Czechia and Switzerland. Still, he has shown a lot of promise, and we put him as the U23 player to watch on Sanok. Bukowski delivered on that with five goals and six assists in 40 games. The second most points by a player in the draft-eligible +2 season. His ceiling is hard to tell, and he will need to continue to bulk up. The more time we get with him on Sanok, especially as the team improves, will help see what he can fully become. Right now, it appears his floor is a solid PHL middle-six forward. 

24 – Sebastian Lipiński (G), 21, Unia Oswiecim (31, +7)

I think imports have a considerable place in Polish hockey, but there is no doubt that there is starting to be a problem with how few young goalies are playing.  Lipiński is our top-ranked goalie who played four games in the PHL last year. He recorded a save percentage of .900, which is the highest of his career in the PHL. The rumors suggest that Lipiński will be playing in the U.K.’s NIHL, the second level of men’s hockey in the country. Not much else to say about it. There is a problem with Polish goalie development in a significant way. There is nowhere for them to play appropriately. 

23 – Kacper Gruzla (F), 22, GKS Tychy (49, +26)

From barely making the top 50 to being right smack dab in the middle, Gruzla comes in at 23. Gruzla forced the Tychy staff to play him as much as possible. This was the first big taste of the PHL for the Mikolow native. He had previously played 14 games with PZHL U23, but only one with GKS Tychy. This year, he found himself with 22 games and responded with five goals and three assists. His nine points tied him for the 13th best point per game average among all U23 skaters, it is tied 9th among Polish players. Gruzla went from a young player looking to make an impression to a part of GKS Tychy’s everyday lineup. 

22- Klaudiusz Libik (D), 20, Vålerenga U21 (12, -10)

Libik is a player I like a lot and I see a chance for Poland to have something their lineup often lacks. Which is a defenseman good enough to play in leagues stronger than the PHL. Libik worked his way up to the top junior leagues of Norway. In the end, his lack of experience, inconsistency, and quick changing of teams has resulted in a player with mixed development. This past year Libik managed a goal and an assist in seven games with Vålerenga U21, his third U21 junior team. 

Now next year, he will be turning professional in Norways’ 2nd league. This is the perfect place for him to gain constant playing time against senior talent while developing. Hopefully, his flaws should not bite his game as much. 

21 – Mateusz Bezwiński (F), 20, Cracovia Krakow, (26, +5)

Bezwiński’s improvement seems to get larger and larger every year. As the soon-to-be 20-year-old finished 5th in points among U20 skaters with three goals and three assists in 19 games, it was 3rd in points per game. In the MHL, he recorded 12 points in nine games, which is a tad bit better point per game average than the previous year. This is a bit more notable because of how many players lost points from the year prior. Krakow has a large batch of young forwards; hopefully, Bezwiński’s growth rate continues. He no doubt would have been one of the leaders at the U20s this year for Poland.

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2020 Top 50 Men’s U23 Players. #12

This year was a pivotal year for Polish hockey. For many players that frequented the list last year or in the years past it was onto full-time professional hockey in Poland or testing their skills in another countries highest junior league, while plenty of players arose to challenge and cemented themselves as future pillars of the national team plenty of players couldn’t live up to their expectations causing drastic changes to the rankings.

This is not the time I wanted to start the list, as the World Championship and U18 World Championship are a great way for players to improve their stock, the U18 World Championship being the first significant exposure for a lot of players. Due to the coronavirus, there are no more tournaments, and hockey is done for the year. Polish hockey itself faces an uncertain future as the virus will leave a lasting effect for years to come.

The real world is a very dark and scary place right now, but I want to look forward to the future while stuck at home. The future of the Polish national team is something that fans should be excited about. I have maintained for years that Poland has more young talent right now then it did any other time this century. I still stand by that opinion today. Poland saw their ace prospect prove himself in professional North American hockey, another NHL draft prospect rise, and a vast increase in depth. Today we start our ranking of the top 50 Men’s U23 players in Poland.

Players had to be under the age of 23 and at least 16-years-old on March 27th, 2020. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential. While a majority of the ranking is my own opinion, numerous people in the Polish hockey world contributed their thoughts on players. 140 players were considered for the list and scouted. 80 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 scouting report.

Players 50-41 Players 15-13
Players 40-31
Players 30-21
Players 20-16

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

12 – Klaudiusz Libik (D), 19, Sparta Sarpsborg U21, (11, -1)

Libik has long been one of my favorite Polish players. I think he is immensely talented with exceptional two-way abilities. This is always especially impressive when you consider he didn’t start playing hockey till he was 12 years old. This was only his sixth year of playing hockey. He has a natural talent for the game that is obvious, but it seems a few problems are starting to catch up with him. One is his lack of experience compared to other players. His bumpy junior career in Norway has also seemingly affected his development. In Norway, Libik has bounced between Sparta Sarpsborg and Stjernen Hockey while also being bounced back and forth between playing forward and defensemen. This was the first season in a bit where he was able to really just play defense, only playing one game at forward.

In total this season, he had 13 points (3-10-13) in 41 games. I think his stats are fascinating when you break down the numbers behind them. Libik played for two teams this year. Neither was very good, especially not Stjernen. Stjernen Hockey U21 only had a total of two wins this year in 38 games. Libik had seven points (3-4-7) in 16 games. His seven points would have ended tied for eleventh on the team. This is astonishing when you remember he left the team two months into the season. With Sterjen, he played all 16 of his games on defense. In 14 of them, he was on the team’s second pairing, with the other two being on the third pairing. All his points came on the second pairing. The more striking thing is when you look at the difference between which side he lined up on. When the right-handed defenseman is lined up on the left side, he has two assists in eight matches. Libik playing on the right side has five points (3-2-5) in eight games.

He moved over to Sparta into November and recorded six assists in 25 games. Sparta was not a great team either this year finishing eighth in the league. In his 25 games with Sparta, we saw him line up on the right side only nine times, left side fifteen games, and one game at left wing. He had four assists on the left side, and two assist on the right. When he was on the top pairing, he recorded four assists in eight games, but only two assists in 13 games on the second pairing.

Going through his season game by game this year to try and understand his production was well worth it. It also was needed to try and see how he stacked up versus his competition, as his unique career doesn’t mean comparables can be assumed right away. In regular-season competition, his 11 points (1-10-11) rank thirty-second among all U21 defensemen, and tied for fifteen among U19 defensemen. Among his production matches that stayed active players after the junior-aged 18 season, a lot of them take their baby steps into Norway’s top and second senior leagues. Libik’s inexperience may not see him reach the senior level so quickly, but it appears when given the opportunity to play higher minutes, he excels at them. The right side appears to be where he is more comfortable as well.

Libik has continued to represent Poland at numerous U20 tournaments, including at the IIHF U20 D1B World Championship, where the 6’1 defenseman recorded one assist in four games. One of the big things I noticed about him this year, in my small amount of film, was being more aggressive when it came to shooting the puck. In Poland’s game against Hungary, he fired a shot from the point that Jakub Lewandowski was able to tip and give Poland a 1-0 lead. It appears that was true in his club season as well, firing 88 shots in 41 games, just over two shots a game, which is way up from 30 shots(.77 shots per game), in 39 U21 games last season.

Libik assist

Libik is continuing to get more confident on the defensive end, while also still improving his offensive side. He isn’t lacking on the size end and should continue to get better while gaining more experience. His junior status in Norway also gives him a very unique development and style that no other Polish player really has. I still think Libik is a big part of Poland’s future on defense and don’t imagine his senior debut is that far off if he continues his current development.

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2019 Poland U20 World Championship Roster Prediction

Recently the U20 National team revealed their roster for the final grouping before the U20 World Championship in Ukraine from December 12th to the 18th. This year the U20 team has had an interesting journey to the World Championship. Poland U20 is going to be very young this year and has tried out a few combinations for lines and rosters. In the past few years, Poland has not been able to earn promotion despite talents like Alan Łyszczarczyk, Bartomiej Jeziorski, Dominik Pas, and others leading the team. This year Poland u20 may have their biggest star in a while as potential NHL draft pick Jakub Lewandowski could represent the team. Adam Kiedewicz is not listed on the roster, and this cast doubt on him ever representing Poland again in his career. Today we make our picks though on what players will be on the ice in red and white for the U20 World Championship.

Forwards

Kamil Walega- Jan Soltys – Jakub Lewandowski

Damian Tyczynski – Igor Smal  – Ernest Bochnak

Jakub Prokurat – Konrad Filipek – Maciej Witan

Jan Krzyzek – Kacper Gruzla – Mateusz Ubowski

Extra: Mateusz Bezwinski

This offense has a lot of talent. The top line could honestly rival the Alan Łyszczarczyk, Bartomiej Jeziorski, and Dominik Pas line that torn up the U20 World Championships a couple years ago. Walega and Lewandowski may be a bit one dimensional at times, but Soltys plays a complete game that will really benefit the line. It won’t be needed much, though, as this line will continuously be driving offense. The second line brings a lot of unique experiences and offensive potential. All three players have excelled in different places, Tyczynski tore up junior leagues in Slovakia, Igor Smal has been impressive at the senior level in Poland, while Bochnak has earned professional chances in the Czech Republic. The bottom lines still provide a lot of solid depth, size, and a chance at production. Bottom six production is something that Poland has been missing for a long time.

Defensemen

Szymon Bieniek – Klaudiusz Libik

Patryk Gosztyla – Armen Khoperia

Adrian Duszak- Michal Narog

Extra: Bartosz Florczak

There were not too many tough choices here, and there are four returners to the roster on defense. The defense lacked two big things experience and production last year. Everyone is now a year older and should have gained plenty of experience. While the production remains to be seen. Bieniek, Libik, and Narog can all make a significant impact on the offensive end. Florczak is included as my extra because of that. The 16-year-old is very talented and could provide offensively if needed. Libik and Bieniek have a chance to be two of the best defensemen ever for Poland, though the bar is pretty low. Poland has never had outstanding offensive defensemen, with Pawel Dronia being the highlight of this decade. Libik and Bieniek could change that.

Goalies

Sebastian Lipinski

Maciej Miarka

The same goaltending duo as last year and no need to change it. Lipinski is the best junior goalie that Poland has, and Miarka isn’t far behind. Lipinski had a great showing at the U20 World Championship last year, while Miarka put on a show at the U18 World Championships. I would expect Lipinski to play four of the games, but Miarka to get at least one.

Conclusion

This team has a lot of potential. They could be the team that earns Poland promotion after four straight silver medals. The group has a lot of speed and skill. They are going to be able to outsmart their opponent and dictate how the game is played. This is a very young squad, and if the defense falters, it could be disastrous for the team. Lipinski posted a .938% last year for Poland and that still wasn’t enough. Poland really needs the defense to stop opponents from getting high danger chances and providing some help on offense.

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2019 Top 50 Polish Men’s U23 Players. #12-10

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 12 through 10.

Players 50-45     Players 26-21

Players 44-39     Players 20-17

Players 38-33     Players 16-13

Players 32-27

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

#12 – Mateusz Goscinski (LW), 22, GKS Tychy. Goscinski was one of the few young forwards who got to play extendedly with the national team this year and he did not disappoint. He picked up 1 goal and 4 assists for team Poland at various non-IIHF events. He was then named to team Poland for the World Championships and added another goal and two more assists. It was quite the international year for the young forward. He looked impressive at every international tournament he appeared at and cemented himself on all future Polish national team rosters.

 

He has played for GKS Tychy the last two seasons. His contributions have helped GKS Tychy to back to back PHL championships. Goscinski has been playing in the PHL since 2015-16 when he made appearances for KH Torun and SMS U20 Sosnowiec. In his four PHL years, he has averaged 8 goals and 8 assists a year. This season, he tied a career high for points with 18 (8G, 10A). He did well in the playoffs recording 3 goals and 3 assists. The PHL playoffs usually see a lot of players drop off in scoring as the competition gets a lot tougher. The production dropoff is usually drastic in younger players. Goscinski finished in a 3-way-tie for the most points by a U23 player in the playoffs.

 

 

He is a really dynamic player and always making an impact. During the World Championships, when he was on the ice it always seemed like he either had the puck or was on it. Very aggressive always on the puck, but also smart about it and knows how to play his role. Goscinski is the exact kind of player that Poland needs to keep promoting right now. Let him take charge and play more, it is clear he can produce in the role.

#11 – Klaudiusz Libik (F/D), 18, Stjernen Hockey U21. Libik is personally one of my favorite prospects in Poland. The 17-year-old was named to both the U18 and U20 national teams this year. He looked good at both events demonstrating his high offensive and defensive skill. He had 3 assists at the U18s and one at the U20s. He will be a key leader on the defense next year at the U20s for sure. One of the most interesting things about Libik is his ability to play defense and forward. I don’t believe Libik has played in the forward role for Poland, but has played a lot of it during his career in Norway. Libik plays at the top level of junior hockey in Norway. The league is quite an odd one for a Polish player to appear in and I failed to turn up any records of a previous Polish player.

In the Norweign junior leagues, Libik splint last season in between the junior teams of Sparta Sarpsborg and Stjernen Hockey. He had been playing with the top Sparta u18 team since 2015-16. The reason he left the team midway through this year was disagreements with management. Stjernen was quick to snap him up and rushed to get him in their squad. In an interview with Hokej.net he said, “In my new club everyone is surprised why in Sparta they put so little on me.” Later in the interview, he revealed that Sparta wanted him back and contacted him also immediately after his release about returning next year. Libik said he won’t be looking to return to Sparta. He also wants to get to the Get Ligaen soon, and Stjernen should offer a way better chance at that.

Regardless of the drama of his transfer during the season, Libik was able to have a great year. At the U18 level between the two clubs, he had 7 goals and 7 assists in 19 games. In the 21 leagues, he recorded 2 goals and 10 assists in 35 games. His 10 assists were 18th among U18 players in the league.

Libik is a very talented player with a strong two-way game. He would be considered a top prospect for Poland at forward or defense. He is a great athlete and can play a lot of minutes. Libik has only been playing hockey since he was 12-years-old so last year was only his 5th year of hockey. His growth during that time is astounding. There are times when he has made some really bad turnovers on defense. There was one against Ukraine this year at the U20 World Championship that led to Ukraine tying the game. These are the kinda mistakes that will go away in his game as he gets more experience. David Leger, former junior national head coach, talked about a time Libik made a mistake at the U18s, “In one game he thought he put the team in a bad spot and he was really upset with himself. We ended up winning the game, but I really took from that he is the kinda high character guy you want on your team.” 

#10 – Bartlomiej Jeziorski (LW), 21, GKS Tychy. The first player in the top 10 is Jeziorski. This season Jeziorski was appointed to his second IIHF senior World Championship team, a very rare feat for a Polish player. This year was the most extended time that Jezoriski received with the Men’s national team since 2016-17. He had 1 goal and 1 assist 8 non-IIHF games with the team, then another goal and an assist at the World Championships.

As a 19-year-old, he posted 23 points (8G, 15A) in 31 games during the 2017-18 regular season. It was the 6th highest point per game ever recorded by a u20 player in the PHL. The 3 other players who have produced at a similar rate also went on to have pretty good careers.

jeziroski stats

Pasiut is one of the best players in the PHL and did really well in the Belarusian Extraleague A, the top league in Belarus. Teddy Da Costa has represented France internationally as while as playing in the EBEL, Liiga, Mestis, and Synerglace Ligue Magnus. Bernat is the outlier of the two. He had a solid career in the PHL, but nowhere near the success Pasiut or Da Costa had in the PHL.

 

 

 

His production dropped off this year with only 6 goals and 9 assists in 38 games. It didn’t get better in the playoffs when he only scored twice in  17 games. His overall point per game of .31 ranked 150th in the league. It was a rough year production wise for Jeziorski. Despite the drop in production, Jeziorski is still one of the best young forwards in Poland. He has great size at 6’3 and is a very efficient passer. Jezorski has great offensive instincts and a strong shot as well. He has a complete offensive toolset. He should break out next year production wise for GKS Tychy.

Players 9-8

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