Tag: Natalia Nosal

The MVP of Every PLHK Team in 2023

There are 3 certainties in life; death, taxes, and Polonia Bytom winning the PLHK championship. Another season has wrapped up with Bytom on top of Poland’s highest league. Despite another championship season, it does feel like the league is becoming more and more competitive. Stoczniowiec Gdansk was the top club this year by goal differential and matched Bytom’s regular season. The rest of the league also had some big surprises that I’m excited to break down. Today we’re looking at the most valuable player of each PLHK team for the 2023 season.

Polonia Bytom: Karolina Późniewska (F)

Karolina Późniewska Goal vs. Gdansk. PLHK Finals

The icon, the legend, or the greatest of all time continues to be among the best in the PLHK. Karolina Późniewska posted 33 points (16G-17A-33PTS) in 9 regular season games, and this was good for second in scoring among all skaters. She turned it up to another level in the playoffs with an outstanding seven goals and six assists in just four games. It is not a surprise that Bytom would finish as the best again with production like that on their side. As long as Późniewska plays, it is almost guaranteed she will be the MVP of her team.

Runner-up: Ida Talanda (F)

Stoczniowiec Gdansk: Magdalena Łąpieś (F)

Magdalena Łąpieś Goal vs. Cracovia. PLHK

From one of the all-time greats to someone with the potential to be one, Magdalena Łąpieś takes the MVP award for Gdansk. I wasn’t sure how the club would perform this year, as losing star forward Tatiana Onyshchenko was a significant blow. Already an offensive leader for the team, Łąpieś stepped up and became the squad’s leading producer. She finished the season with 33 points (18G-15A-33PTS) in 18 games. Nine of her points came in the PLHK playoffs to help Gdansk reach the finals again. Her 24 points in the regular season saw her finish as the fourth-best scorer in the league and on top of Gdansk.

Runner-up: Dominika Korkuz (D)

Atomowki Tychy: Sylwia Łaskawska (F)

Sylwia Łaskawska Goal vs. Podhale. PLHK

Tychy made it back to the bronze medal game, and a significant part of that was Sylwia Łaskawska. The talented forward was the offensive leader of Tychy this year with 31 points (18G-13A-31PTS) in 19 games. Tychy had a long playoff route, with Łaskawska leading the way with nine of her points on the year coming at the vital time. This was a lot harder to pick as, offensively, Łaskawska just edged out Aleksandra Gorska, while the club also got some great performances in net from both of their netminders. Gorksa’s five goals in the bronze medal series almost clinched her it, but I feel Łaskawska was the stronger player consistently throughout the year.

Runner-up: Aleksandra Gorska (F)

Naprzod Janow: Malgorzata Zakrzewska (F)

Malgorzata Zakrzewska Goal vs. Cracovia. PLHK

This is a player the rest of the hockey world will know soon. Malgorzata Zakrzewska looks to be the next Polish hockey star, and she only turned 13 years old in late January of this hockey season. Remember how young she is when I tell you she led the PLHK regular season in scoring by seven points. Just a ridiculous year, and it won’t be long until top clubs abroad are lining up. In the 2022-23 season, she finished with 43 points (30G-13A-43PTS) in 13 games. She only appeared in one postseason match this year but made sure to make it count with two goals and an assist. If Zakrzewska stays in Janow for long, we could have a new team that threatens the top of the PLHK.

Runner-up: Joanna Orawska (F)

Podhale Nowy Targ: Natalia Nosal (D)

Natalie Nosal Goal vs. Janow. PLHK 5-7 Seeding

Nosal is our only defenseman to take the MVP award for her team his year. Podhale finished middle of the pack again this year, but they did tighten up defensively. Their goals-against average per game was almost cut in half. A significant contributor to that was star defenseman Natalia Nosal. The young defender led the team in points for a second straight season. This year she scored seven goals and assisted on one in 11 games. This was seventh among all PLHK defensemen. Her ability to rush the puck was critical to zone breakdowns and generating scoring chances.

Runner-up: Zuzanna Furtak (G)

Unia Oswiecim: Kamila Wieczorek (F)

This was a hard one to pick. Unia Oswiecim finished as part of the three-way tie for fourth place, and they were right in the middle regarding goal differential. In the playoffs, they upset Tychy for the bronze medal. A big reason for this was the late addition of Kamila Wieczorek. The Polish star only played in 2 regular season games before leading the team in the playoffs with 12 points (8G-4A-12PTS) in seven games. She also scored in each match in the bronze medal series. Joanna Strzelecka was the team leader throughout the year, with 12 goals and 10 assists in 15 games across the regular season and playoffs.

Runner-up: Joanna Strzelecka (F)

KS Cracovia 1906: Magdalena Olszewska (F)

Magdalena Olszewska assist vs. Janow. PLHK

It was an ugly year for Cracovia, as the team went winless in 12 games and scored just nine goals. Our MVP goes to Olszewska, who finished with six assists in nine regular season games. Her six points led Cracovia in points for the year and were three more than any other player. Notching six assists also means she was involved in two-thirds of the team’s regular season goals.

Runner-up: Karolina Baran (F)

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2022 Top 50 Women’s U20 Players. #15-11

We keep on moving and are now in the top 15. This is one of my favorite groups of players. We have our top-ranked goalie, the biggest riser of the 2022 season, our first player that didn’t play in Poland, and a personal favorite dark horse of mine. This is the group where we start to look past PLHK stars and look for players with a chance of playing outside Poland. Outside of Poland, they could be strong contributors to Poland’s team in the EWHL or a team abroad.

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.

Players 50-31
Players 30-21
Players 20-16

15 – Zuzanna Rduch (F), 19, UKH Biale Jastrzebie (19, +4

I am a big fan of Rduch; she was one of the most critical forwards to her team in the PLHK. In 2022, she led UKH Biale Jastrzebie in points with 29 (17G-12A-29PTS) in 16 games. She was a part of Tychy for the playoffs, where she added another assist in two games. Her 30 points saw her finish 19th in the league overall and eighth among U20 skaters. I am curious why she hasn’t received much consideration from the national team for senior or junior chances in her career. She could be a big fish in a small pond. A full season with Tychy will be more telling for her potential.

Rduch Goal vs. Janow. PLHK

14 – Nadia Ratajczyk (G), 17, Stoczniowiec Gdansk (NR) 

Ratajczyk comes in as our top-ranked goalie after a solid showing at the U18s. She also did play in two games for Stoczniowiec Gdansk, where she stopped 19 of the 21 shots she faced in two blowout wins. Ratajczyk played more at the U18s, where in four games, she finished with a .896 sv%. A bit of that is misrepresented by a match versus Chinese Tapai, excluding that seven shot match, she finished with a .914 SV%. Poland must start looking at who is next behind Sass, and Ratajczyk put on a good audition.

13 –  Natalia Nosal (D), 17, Podhale Nowy Targ (50, +37

Last year, Nosal only barely made the list, coming in at the final spot number 50. She was more than a pleasant surprise in 2022, both at the U18s and in the PLHK. In the PLHK, the young defenseman was a strong puck mover for Nowy Targ, posting 11 points in 11 games. Eight of those points were her putting the puck in the net, which was ninth among all defensemen. At the U18s, she showed well and played with much poise defensively in my limited viewing. She also posted two assists in the four games, which tied her for the lead in points on team Poland. Nosal also fired off 19 shots at the tournament, which was among the best for Poland. 

Nosal Goal vs Tychy. PLHK

12 – Anna Kot (D), 18, Unia Oswiecim (17, +5

Kot showed up strong in her final U18 season. Increased production in the PLHK, made the Polish U18 squad, and made a few appearances in the EWHL. Kot’s strong year starts with her best career season for Unia Oswiecim. In 15 games, she posted 12 points (6G-6A-12PTS). This was second among U18 defensemen in points. She also played four games for Metropolis Katowice, Poland’s EWHL club. In her four games, she picked up one assist. Her amazing year was topped off with being an assistant captain of Poland U18, where she scored a goal in four games. 

11 – Julia Skręt (F), 17, Södertälje SK (7, -4

Julia Skręt is the first player on the list this year who did not play in Poland. Skręt spent the year in Sweden’s division one with Södertälje SK. There, in 21 games, she recorded one goal and one assist. Playing a lot in Sweden will only aid her growth as a complete player. Skręt also competed for Poland at the U18s, where she went pointless in four games with three shots. The slight drop is due to disappointment in the production numbers, but it will take time to adapt when you step up to a new league. She did return to her club in Sweden for the 2022-23 season.  

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