The top two spots in our rankings were always pretty much a lock. The number three ranking did almost everything they could do in Poland to dethrone one of them.
Players had to be under the age of 20 and at least 13 years old on September 12th, 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. 113 players were considered for the list and reviewed. Fifty players received a ranking.
3 – Magdalena Łąpieś (F), 16, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (3,0)
Magdalena Łąpieś is Poland’s best prospect still playing in the country. Since she first appeared on the list, she has challenged to break into the top two. Her season in 2022 had extreme highs, making me wonder if she is the next star Polish forward like Karolina Pozniewska or Wiktoria Sikorska. The player is an exact blend of everything you want in hockey; the speed, smarts, puck skills, and shots are all there. She has all the makings of an elite hockey player. In games, she can be a walking highlight reel that takes over your viewing of a match. Talking to some in Poland, the all-around two-way game is a work in progress but above that of other players due to her natural ability on the ice. She is a rapidly developing player in Poland and plays with much confidence. Going abroad would be the next step in her evolution, but she is also a full-time member of Metropolis Katowice in the EWHL, which gives her strong senior experience.
Łąpieś had a career year in the PLHK this season. In only 22 games, she scored 39 goals and assisted on 26. Her 65 points were the fourth most in the entire league and the most by any U20 skater. It is the second-best U20 season ever by points, with Olivia Tomczok’s 66-point season being the only one better. On top of this, she did all this in just her age 15 season. She also made her debut for Metropolis Katowice in the EWHL. In 20 games, the Zgierz native recorded eight points (3G-5A-8PTS). This was tied for the third most on the Polish club and the second most by any U16 player in the league. Both club seasons belong in the history books. Everything you could ask for out of a young player.
The Gdansk standout also started waves on the international stage. She represented both the senior team and the U18 squad at IIHF events. A member of team Poland for both rounds of Olympic qualification, where she recorded a goal and an assist in six games. Later at the World Championships, another two assists in five games were added to her season. Her final international stop was at the U18s, where she recorded one goal in four games. If I had to point out one knock on Łąpieś’ season, it would be the international production. This was mainly at the U18s, where she was a bit unlucky with just one goal, as she did fire off 21 shots at the event.
Undoubtedly, Łąpieś is the best U20 player in Poland. She will be a top-line player for the national team for as long as she wants. I also believe she could be a star outside of Poland, as evidenced by her strong performance in the EWHL. If she chooses to leave Poland, I could see her reaching the same levels of professional success as Sikorska or Zielińska.
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