Leading up to the start of 2019-20 season, we will preview every team in the PHL
Every year since Gdansk made their PHL debut in 2016, they continue to build a better team than the year before. This year is no exception to that, in part due to their new sponsor of Lotos. The team lost a few key players in goaltender Evan Cowley and defensemen Matej Cunik and Robin Maly. Gdansk more than replaced them with a few new imports. The most significant additions though may have come late in the season last year after signing a couple of former Opole players after they left the team. Some new faces and a full-season of some top imports could push Gdansk up the standings again.
Alexander Golovin – Vladislav Yelakov – Jan Steber
Josef Vítek – Petr Polodna – Mateusz Danieluk
Yegor Rozhkov – Igor Smal – Szymon Marzec
Filip Pesta – Jakub Stasiewicz – Krystian Mocarski
Other forwards: Bartosz Woloszyk, Pavel Popov
Alexander Golovin and Vladislav Yelakov both came over from Opole midseason. Golovin increased his production, but Yelakov saw his scoring drop from a 1.28 PPG to 1.09. Yelakov was originally on pace to be a top-five scorer in the PHL, and Gdansk will need him to score at that pace again. Jan Steber should fill in right beside the two very nicely, he is still an impact player in the PHL. Josef Vitek (38) and Petr Polodna (37) are both great veteran players that can provide secondary scoring. Igor Smal is a future star, and this year he should start to be relied on a fair amount. There are a lot of veteran players, seven out of the thirteen forwards are 33 or older, and possible declines will always happen eventually.
Ladislav Havlik – Yan Krasovsky
Vlastimil Bilcik – Konstantin Teslyukevich
Damian Szurowski – Tomasz Pastryk
Other defensemen: Gilbert Lesniak, Michal Narog, Oskar Lehmann
The defense features all-around solid players being led by Ladislav Havlik and Yan Krasovsky. Havlik is a veteran of over 100 Tipsports Extraliga games at just 27-years-old, he previously played in the PHL with GKS Tychy recording 23 points (6-17-23) in 62 games. Krasovsky has played over 200 games in the VHL. He arrived late into last season for Gdansk recording 12 points (5-7-12) in 22 games. Its better than last year, but not a vast improvement.
Tomas Fucik will be a nice replacement for Evan Cowley. While Cowley had quite the impact in his short time, Fucik showed before that he can be a starter in the PHL during his time with JKH GKS Jastrzebie. He didn’t have the greatest time in the Tipsports Liga last year posting a .907 SV%, but in the relegation play, he recorded a .946 SV%. It may be hard to beat Cowley’s play, but Fucik should be more than fine. Mateusz Studzinski is an excellent choice for a backup. He was quite the junior goalie, but his jump to the PHL has been a bit of a struggle.
While Gdansk continues to improve as a team, their improvement this year wasn’t as good as other teams. The mid-tier of the PHL continues to get better and better, Gdansk is one of those teams improving it. This year though some teams made some significant moves to leapfrog Gdansk, while also considering the potential decline of veterans leaves Gdansk as my team finishing 8th this year.