Tag: Patryk Gosztyla

“Can Never Count Them Out” 2019-20 PHL Team Previews: Cracovia Krakow

Leading up to the start of 2019-20 season, we will preview every team in the PHL

There are just some sports teams that never seem to lose, no matter how the odds are stacked against them, they just seem to still be there contending for a shot at the title. Cracovia Krakow is the New York Yankees or New England Patriots of the PHL. Last season, they struggled, and it seemed that Cracovia was done for. Torun had taken their place in the standings at times and every part of the team seemed inconsistent. Then they went to the finals anyway losing to GKS Tychy. Since 2007-08 they have appeared in the finals 9 out of 12 times. There is just no counting them out. ITS A TRAP THEY LULL THE OTHER PHL TEAMS INTO BEFORE STRIKING LIKE A VIPER.

Forwards

Ondrej Mikula – Michal Vachovec – Damian Kapica

Mateusz Bepierszcz – Kamil Kalinowski – Michal Barta

Filip Drzewiecki – Adam Domogala – Sebastian Brynkus

Lukasz Kaminski – Kasper Bryniczka – Mateusz Bezwinski

Other forwards: Antoni Dziurdzia

The offense is similar to most years with Cracovia, some familiar faces with talented imports surrounding them. Damian Kapica is the best Polish forward in the PHL without a doubt. He is an incredibly gifted goal scorer as shown by his five-goal performance against Ukraine at the World Championship. Michal Vachovec returns after finishing third in scoring during the 2018-19 PHL season. Vachovec is a really skilled player and a joy to watch. Ondrej Mikula is the most significant addition to the team this year. The Slovakian winger has played 480 games in the Tipsport Liga, recording 239 points. In pre-season matches, he has produced quite well for Krakow. Cracovia will now also have Kamil Kalinowski for a full season. After coming over from GKS Tychy, he had 16 points in 22 games. Michal Barta is currently on a try-out and an interesting import. Barta has produced well in the top two levels of Czech hockey and had an above-average season in the Tipsport Liga. Adam Domogola is a personal favorite player of mine, and I was glad to see him post career-high numbers in the PHL last season. He is finally starting to break through and reach the potential he showed as a younger player. Then there are key pieces to the national team’s future like Sebastian Brynkus and Lukasz Kaminski. It is an ideal offense in the league without import rules.

Defensemen

Miloslav Jáchym – Bartlomiej Bychawski

Maciej Kruczek – Mateusz Rompkowski

Ales JezekJiri Gula

Patryk Gosztyla – Bartosz Dabkowski

Other defensemen: Adrian Gajor

The defensive group is one of the best in the PHL and features some of the best depth in all of Poland. Miloslav Jáchym came over mid-season from Unia Oswiecim and was impressive. Like a lot of defensemen on Krakow, Jachym is a defensive first guy and doesn’t really offer a lot at the offensive end. I usually prefer defensemen that have stronger offensive tendencies, but none of the defensive only guys on Krakow can be upgraded that easily. Bartlomiej Bychawski is a fun player to watch. You never really know what you’re going to get. He is good at both ends of the ice, but also can be overly physical and take a lot of penalties. Maciej Kruczek is one of the top defensemen in Poland. He plays a strong two-way game. You know he is going to play a reliable game if Cracovia supplies his equipment… Patryk Gosztyla returns to Poland after developing in the Slovak junior system since 2015. Gosztyla has polished his skills and is ready to try his hand at professional hockey. This is a great defensive group with a lot of depth. I would prefer more offensive types, but this model as never dragged down Cracovia before.

Goalies

Miroslav Kopriva

Robert Kowalowka

The goaltending for Cracovia should be near the top, as Miroslav Kopriva showed a lot during his 16 game stint last season. Kopriva also has a strong history in the Central Hockey League and Tipsport Extraliga. The problem is his more recent performances in the Czech Republic’s first league and the Elite Ice Hockey League. There he posted back to back seasons with save percentages under .900. If Kopriva does struggle that could be the kiss of death for Krakow, as they no longer have a ready to start back-up like Michael Luba to turn to. Robert Kowalowka has been pretty inconsistent in his career so far and never played more than 11 games. Part of me wishes he played more though given his success in juniors and in small sample sizes in the PHL.

Prediction: 4th 

I am not as a big of a fan of Cracovia’s roster as I am for some teams. They still have a solid roster that should contend for a championship, but I feel there are more skilled and exciting teams. You can never count them out though, whenever things are bleak they still find a way. You also can’t forget about late-season transfers with them. Kalinowski, Kopriva, Jachcym, and Jezek all arrived halfway through the season last year and that isn’t counting ones who didn’t re-sign like Marek Tvrdon. You just can’t count them out.

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2019 Top 50 Polish Men’s U23 Players. #38-33

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 38 through 33.

Players 50-45

Players 44-39

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

#38 – Patryk Gosztyla (D), 19, HK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas U20. Gosztyla is a player with defensive skills that are ready for professional hockey. It appears he will be getting that chance as he is leaving the Slovak junior leagues to join Cracovia Krakow. He is a steady defenseman and I think Krakow is a great place for him to develop. I see him becoming a player like Dawid Musiol. Gosztayla continues to improve his game year by year and there is still a lot of work to do. This is one of the rare cases though were I agree with a player returning to Poland for development reasons. He most likely will not get a chance to play against men in Slovakia, and that is what he needs to keep evolving his defensive game.

#37 – Michal Bernacki (F), 21, Zaglebie Sosnowiec. A homegrown player by Zaglebie Sosnowiec having never played anywhere else. He was an important part their of their team this year as they avoided relegation. He has a lot of goal scoring potential, thanks to his strong shot. He also is 6’3 and needs to learn how to use that size better to drive the net. His 9 goals this year in the PHL were the 7th most by U23 player in the PHL. It has already been a busy free agency for Zaglebie Sosnowiec, and they should be an improved team next year. Bernacki will likely have more chances to produce offensively with more talent around him.

 

 

#36 – Yevgeni Kamenev (D), 22, HC Presov. Kamenev was considered highly skilled for his age at one point and appeared ready to play professional hockey. In 2016-17, he was able to get a handful of games in with HC Detva in Slovakia’s second league. He also made his senior team debut for Poland playing one game at a Euro Ice Hockey Challenge. For the 2017-18 season, he went professional full time by signing with Polonia Bytom. He would only play 23 games and missed the U20 World Championships. He moved to a stronger team in Cracovia Krakow. He was having a slightly better year with Krakow and playing with PZHL u23 at times. He left Krakow though late in the year and moved back to the second Slovakian league. Well, he couldn’t save HC Presov, he was one of their better defensemen and earned a spot in their starting line up. He is a defensive first defenseman, but his offensive game is pretty good. I imagine Kamenev will look to play aboard next year again. His transition to professional hockey has not been as smooth as thought, but he still has potential. 

#35 – Krzysztof Bukowski (C), 17, CP de Meyrin. My favorite European hockey to watch outside of Poland is swiss. I love NLA and am overall really intrigued by Swiss hockey. When a Polish prospect popped up in the Swiss junior leagues I was instantly excited. Bukowski has shown off his talents for a smaller Swiss team in CP de Meyrin leading their U17 team in points, while finishing fourth on the U20 team. His 1.28 points per game in the U20 league was the most by a u17 player with at least 10 games played. His performance in the junior leagues earned him two big opportunities. He got to play some senior games in Swiss Division 1 where he put up 1 assist in 3 games for Meyrin. Then the bigger was getting to play a couple games with Genève-Servette U17 in the Elite Novizen, which is the top u17 league in Switzerland. Bukowski also made his IIHF debut for Poland scoring two goals at the U18s. CP de Meyrin has been relegated to Swiss Division 2 for next year, and I believe Bukowski will be moving to a stronger Swiss club.

#34 – Tomasz Skokan (D), 21, GKS Katowice. Skokan will be continuing to develop his game in Katowice for 3 more years after signing a new deal with the club. Last year was his first full year back in Poland after playing abroad in the United States in various USPHL leagues. He was always a leader on Poland’s junior teams at IIHF events. Former juniors coach David Leger on Skokan at the 2017-18 U20 World Championships, “He picked up everything that we wanted to do right away. He was among the best players at that tournament. He is an undercover real good player, very effective is in his battles, makes smart decisions with the puck, competes, a good example all the time. He is another one in that next generation of Polish players I think.” Skokan has a really solid two-way game that just needs to mature. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a huge breakout year for GKS Katowice next season. Risto Dufva and a strong  GKS Katowice defense should aid his development.

#33 – Maciej Rutkowski (F), 17, Krefelder EV 1981 U20. The second Krefleder player to appear on the list and not the last. Rutkowski was the youngest of the Polish players in Krefelder and had quite the year. He split time between Krefelder’s U17 and U20 squads and was above a point per game at both levels.

Team League GP G A PTS
Krefelder EV 1981 U17 Germany U17 18 11 14 25
Krefelder EV 1981 U20 DNL U20 2 26 6 25 31

Rutkowski also showed he is ready to play in the top level of the DNL after chipping in 5 points (2G, 3A) in 6 games when Krefelder was fighting for promotion. Rutkowski is a great offensive talent and a player like him being this low on the list just goes to show the depth of the system right now. He will most likely stay with Krefelder in the top DNL division next year and make his IIHF debut at the U18s for Poland, maybe even at the U20 World Championship.

Players 32-27    Players 12-10

Players 26-21     Players 9-8

Players 20-17

Players 16-13

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Noureddine Bettahar Stays in the DEL2, Oskar Jaskiewicz Moves to Katowice. Weekly Offseason Update

This week in Polish hockey saw GKS Katowice take another former Podhale player, Cracovia invest in some young defensemen, and GKS Tychy getting a lot stronger, while outside the PHL Bettahar has found a DEL 2 club.

Noureddine Bettahar – One year deal with EC Kassel Huskies. Bettahar is going to be extending his stay in the German second league and with his fourth team in 4 years. Bettahar will be reuniting with Tim Kehler, one of his former coaches, in the team announcement of the signing Kehler said, “We are delighted to have signed Noureddine Bettahar for next season. I already know him from my time in Frankfurt in 2014. Noureddine is a young player who has not exhausted his full potential yet. He is a tall guy, but also runs well and also plays physically. I think that with the right environment and a given chance, Noureddine will be playing a strong season in Kassel.” (Translated via Google Translate) Bettahar was set to make his senior team Poland debut last year, til being concussed in a practice prior to the EIHC. This concussion ended up derailing his season as he missed a large chunk of the year and did not produce as well offensively when he returned to the line-up. He was not appointed to any other national team rosters. His national team status is once again up in the air.

Oskar Jaskiewicz – 2 year deal with GKS Katowice. National team defensemen Oskar Jaskiewicz has become the third national team player to switch to Katowice this offseason joining Mateusz Michalski and Patryk Wajda. The soon to be 23-year-old defensemen is one of Poland’s most promising young defensemen. It was rumored he was originally looking at offers in North America. He attributed part of the reason he signed in Katowice was Finnish coach Risto Dufva.

Radoslaw Sawicki – 2 year deal with GKS Katowice. GKS Katowice also extended the contract of Sawicki for 2 more years. The 23-year-old center had 25 points (7G, 18A) in 42 games last season.

Henrich Jabornik – 1 year deal JKH GKS Jastrzebie. The first new import in the PHL is here as Henrich Jabornik inked a one year deal with Jastrzebie. The 28-year-old represented Slovakia at the U18 and U20 IIHF World Championships in his junior career. He has spent in the last 3 years in the Erste Liga most recently with Dunaújvárosi Acélbikák. There he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 44 games.

Mike Cichy and Alex Szczechura to stay with GKS Tychy, and be joined by Jesse Rohtla. It appears that Mike Cichy and Alex Szczechura are close to new deals to stay in GKS Tychy as well is Jess Rohtla. Cichy and Szczechura have been two of the top scorers in the PHL since they arrived in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The two have played together every year since 2015-16. Rohtla arrived in the PHL in 2017-18 and lead the league in points with 53 (13G, 40). He returned to Poland this season and again played with GKS Katowice, where he had 44 points (22G, 22A) in 42 games. Now it appears the playmaking center is joining two of the other top scoring forwards in the PHL.

Patryk Gosztyla and Mateusz Bezwinski training with Cracovia Krakow. It appears Cracovia has invested in injecting some young defensemen in their line up next year. Gosztyla had played in the Slovak juniors system since 2015-16. The 19-year-old played last year for HK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas U20 and represented Poland at the U20 World Championship. Mateusz Bezwinski was a standout player at the U18s for Poland. The 17-year-old played mostly with SMS Torun last year, where he had 33 points (21G, 12A) in 22 games. He can move up and down the lineup.

Gdansk may have their goalie in Tomas Fucik. According to hokej.net, the 25-year-old netminder is close to a deal with Gdansk. Fucik previously played in Poland from 2016 to 2018 with JKH GKS Jastrzebie. He posted sv% above .930 in both his seasons where he played a total of 42 games. He spent most of last season in the Tipsort Liga with MsHK Zilina.

If you want to keep up with all the offseason news, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey and like our Facebook page.