Mark Jankowski - Quotes and Analysis

Kent Wilson
June 22 2012 11:24PM

 

In the midst of wailing and gnashing of teeth, I managed to make my way down to the press scrum with the newest member of the Calgary Flames, Mark Jankowski. The 17-year old looked every bit the high school student, but answered questions in a calm, poised manner.

The kid looks young because he is. Jankowski was born on September 13, 1994 and only made the draft cut off point by a couple of days. In fact, he graduates from highschool next week and only decided to attend the draft at the last minute because he was unsure where he'd go. He noted he wanted to have the experience, though, so ultimately decided to attend.

When asked about his future plans, Jankowski said he will be going to USHL Providence (Dubuque) next year. "Coach Montgomery at Dubuque, he has a really good program. He's been doing it for a couple of years. I really think he's going to help me develop and make that transition."

On his strengths, Jankowski said "I think I'm a big, skilled forward. I really like to use my vision and my hockey sense to make the players around me better."

When asked what he needs to improve, Jankowski noted he still needs to put some bulk on this relatively thin frame.

"I think one thing is definitely getting a little bit bigger and stronger and I am really committed to doing that. I am going to work out really hard in the season and the off-season."

Even though he settled in at 43 overall on Central Scoutings draft list, Jankowski's ranking actually shot up by more than 30 places since the mid-term ranks were released. When asked why his consensus ranking improved so much, Jankowski discussed his recent growth spurt and how scouts started to take notice of him.

"I have been filling out quite a bit. In my OHL draft year I was 5'8", 130 pounds. Now I'm 6'2" and three quarters and about 175 pounds, so I've definitely grown and filled out."

"I think a lot of it was just getting that exposure initially...playing at Stanstead College, not a lot of people knew where it was right away. As soon as I got that exposure, more and more people started to come watch and I kept on impressing. "

Jankowski also described his interview experience with the Flames and why he had an inkling the team might pick him.

"I interviewed at the combine and today and I think one other time...they had their whole staff there, like 35 guys or something like that. It was pretty intimidating in front of all them, but I thought the interview went really well and I thought coming out of the interview I had impression of what was going to happen."

 Impressions and Analysis

Seeing and hearing Feaster and Weisbrod talking about Jankowski, it's clear the latter fell in love with the kid after a few viewings and likely fought for him on the Flames list. He still strikes me as a reach at 21 given his conensus ranking, but Weisbrod gave the impression other teams were looking at him and he probably would not have lasted until the second round.

There are some things to dislike about the move on the face of it - it's always a gamble to select guys out of second and third tier leagues because of the diffuclty of placing their performance in context versus NHL-quality prospects. Stanstead College is way off the beaten path and the level of competition there is going to be much poorer than most other feeder leagues. 

In addition, the Flames reached when a few other, highly touted forwards fell within their grasp. Primary amongst which was Teuvo Teravainen who was named by many as top-5 or top-10 forward talent. In our interview with him, Matias Strozyk said Teravainen looked like the most impressive pure talent to come out of Finland since Teemu Selanne. That's high praise. Teravainen also played againt men in the SM-liiga last year, so it's much easier to grade his abilities against that level of competition.

That said, there's some encouraging aspects to the Jankowski pick. First and foremost is Jankowski's youth - he'll likely end up being the youngest player picked this year, meaning he is further away from his peak and has more time than to grow and develop. His results this year were also impressive, quality of the league notwithstanding - with 53 goals and 93 points in just 57 games, he was clearly a dominant force. Scouting reports are all universally positive too, with the few knocks against him being his weight and, again, th fact that he was playing against high school students in Quebec.

It will be instructive to see how Jankowski does in Dubuque next year, which seems to be pumping out a lot of NHL-prospect type talent recently (Gaudreau, Girgensons). His numbers in that league will give us a better idea of whether the Flames will look like geniuses or dunces a few years down the road.

Conclusion

Personally, this is a pick I would have been a lot more pumped about in the 2nd round or beyond rather than 21st (or 14th, since he was the top played on Calgary's list). Like the Gaudreau hail mary in the round 4 last year, gambling on Jankowski after round one would have struck me as a lot less risky, particularly given the talent that was still around when they were choosing at both 14 and then 21.

That said, the kid has me intrigued because he's young, he's growing like a weed and he has a lot of tools. If he turns into what Feaster and Weisbrod seem to think, no one will be talking about Teravainen (unless Teuvo is indeed the next Selanne o course) or trading down in a few years.

That said, if he doesn't, it will be pretty embarassing for all involved. Only time will tell.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#2 Karasu89
June 22 2012, 11:47PM
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honestly..in the past 8 years we have drafted garbage and we got players according to ranks...at least we are trying something different..no one can tell how good he will be or not..we are just gonna have to put up with ppl telling us how good maatta is for a few years till jankowski will step in and hopefully be the player they think he is

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#3 Artax
June 23 2012, 12:03AM
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They picked him because they must have really liked what they saw in the kid. Instead of relying on other peoples rankings and such I think its good the Flames stuck to their guns and chose who they deemed their #1 guy. plus we got another 2nd round pick out of it.

It'll be interesting to see how he develops. At least he's a centre with some height to him. In two years we'll see where he's really at.

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#4 Baalzamon
June 23 2012, 12:05AM
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I think Feaster and co. had their eyes full of Gaudreau, and were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice. A few thoughts.

-They went for upside rather than "the sure thing" which always turned out to be a bust for the Flames anyway (think Pelech, Chucko, and, to a lesser extent, Nemisz).

-they didn't take Brendan Gaunce. I'm glad for that.

-Mark seemed genuinely pleased to be picked.

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#5 44stampede
June 23 2012, 12:09AM
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I can't support this at all based on the information I have read. No, I am not a scout nor know much about this Jankowski (or heard of him till this) but with all the low hanging fruit that fell to the Flames and to not take it was just plain stupid in my opinion.

Cannot get behind it. Hope to God I am wrong.

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#6 the forgotten man
June 23 2012, 12:11AM
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Kent,

Maybe NHL has it wrong but they have Teravainen born just 2 days before Jankowski...if so, I guess that eliminates the room to grow factor in favor of Jankowski.

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#8 Marc
June 23 2012, 05:34AM
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Worth pointing out - Jankowski will be playing in the USHL the year after his draft year, then going to college. That means he will potentially have the Blake Wheeler/Justin Schultz loophole available to him (if it isn't closed in the new CBA).

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#9 ChinookArch
June 23 2012, 07:01AM
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There is nothing like going 'all in' on the river card. Too bad we went all in before the flop.

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#10 MC Hockey
June 23 2012, 07:16AM
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I liked Jankowski since I heard first heard about him but was suspect of his league. However if you balance his skill, size, and bloodlines against tHe poor league I think he comes in as middle-second rounder. But going to Dubuque program and then a good college can only help him become a star. So, I am hesitantly OK with this trade down and get a 2nd round pick scenario as Flames showed last year they can get talent drafted past round one! All you commenters needing instant gratification should go back on Facebook or your naughty websites.

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#11 MC Hockey
June 23 2012, 07:17AM
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@Marc

Kent - is this Loophole thing a valid comment? Explain please???

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#12 Skidplate
June 23 2012, 07:30AM
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I am still wondering how Jonathan Willis predicted the pick last night. I think he stated very early on that the Flames were taking Jankowski only to be told to be quite.

This is a very big gamble, one that probably should not have been made. Take the BPA at 14 or 21 and gamble in the later rounds.

Where Jankowski played was probably based on his small stature. If he had sprouted a year earlier, he may have been in the OHL or WHL. Then we would have seen what kind of talent he has.

Good luck Flames fans, you may need it on this one.

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#13 Casey
June 23 2012, 07:45AM
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Jankowski's plan *WAS* to go to college. He's really young. He isn't even elegible to play in the AHL for a couple of years. For all we know, the kid plays next year in the USHL, puts on 20 pounds, and then makes the team out of camp in 13/14. There will certainly be a spot for him if he is up to it. He'll likely be at least 6'4" by that point...

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#14 Tach
June 23 2012, 08:08AM
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This pick has Kyle Turris written all over it.

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#15 jgl
June 23 2012, 08:09AM
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Jankowski did mention that he was drafted into the OHL as well last year so after a year in the USHL he might decide to go to the OHL if he changes his mind on college.

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#16 SmellOfVictory
June 23 2012, 08:43AM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Kent - is this Loophole thing a valid comment? Explain please???

.

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#17 Baalzamon
June 23 2012, 12:47PM
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Marc wrote:

Worth pointing out - Jankowski will be playing in the USHL the year after his draft year, then going to college. That means he will potentially have the Blake Wheeler/Justin Schultz loophole available to him (if it isn't closed in the new CBA).

I don't know, he seemed pretty pleased to me. One of his comments was that he wants to prove Feaster and company were right about him. At his point, I just can't see him ego tripping his way out of town.

Then again, if that happens, it's roughly 4 or 5 years in the future. People can change a lot in 5 years.

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#18 Colin.S
June 23 2012, 01:06PM
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I thought Feaster would have been a genious if he got Maata or Teravainen and then ALSO Jankowski in the second. But listening to Wisebrod and Button, apparently he was pretty much a lock to be drafted before the end of the first round. Which I actually believe to be the case.

Listening to the kids interview as well. He was passed over the OHL draft because he was a shrimp, apparently had skill but no one thought he could hang with the tougher guys in the OHL. He said he was drafted this past year in the OHL, though I don't know who owns his rights.

Jankowski is also the youngest player, though Teravainen is so very close. So Jankowski has a lot of room to finish growing, some people were saying he may end up with another 2-3 inches, getting him to 6'4" or 6'5" and if he gets to 190/200 pounds and if his offensive skilled game does eventually translate to NHL hockey, this could be the steal of the draft.

However, if this was just a case of an average OHL playing against competition so bad that he just looked so good by comparision, we could look so very very stupid in a couple years when even his potential college desitination doesn't bother extending his scholarship or soemthing like that.

That is the guy that Feaster/Wisebrod/Button all wanted, one of the only players to have a sewn on name plate vs velcro. And if the pick works, we may have our #1 legit center, and if it doesn't the whole group may be on the way out.

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#19 Marc
June 23 2012, 04:18PM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Kent - is this Loophole thing a valid comment? Explain please???

The loophole that Justin Schultz and Blake Wheeler used to become free agents four years after their draft years arises only when a player plays a year of junior and then goes to college for three years.

I have no info about what this kid feels about the Flames or anything like that. I assume it's all very positive. I only wanted to point out that should he gradually improve over the next four year to the point where he's one of the best players in college hockey (like Schultz did), he would have the option of becoming a UFA and picking his team instead of having to sign with Calgary or reentering the draft. If he were going straight to college, or into the CHL there would be no risk of this.

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#20 RexLibris
June 23 2012, 05:52PM
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My issue with the Jankowski pick/trade down was that Feaster basically had to trade down to re-acquire the pick he sent away. That is poor asset management and looks a lot like amateur incompetence (and I say this knowing that the Oilers did the same thing before offer sheeting Penner).

I don't necessarily have a problem with trading down, it was a smart thing to do. Doing it to cover up for an earlier mistake, though, is poor management. Picking Jankowksi that early is also, I feel, poor management and a risk at a time when this franchise cannot afford to take risks on passing over talented players.

They can't afford to go for the homerun. They need to focus on getting on-base.

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#21 Parallex
June 23 2012, 08:10PM
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RexLibris wrote:

My issue with the Jankowski pick/trade down was that Feaster basically had to trade down to re-acquire the pick he sent away. That is poor asset management and looks a lot like amateur incompetence (and I say this knowing that the Oilers did the same thing before offer sheeting Penner).

I don't necessarily have a problem with trading down, it was a smart thing to do. Doing it to cover up for an earlier mistake, though, is poor management. Picking Jankowksi that early is also, I feel, poor management and a risk at a time when this franchise cannot afford to take risks on passing over talented players.

They can't afford to go for the homerun. They need to focus on getting on-base.

I'm not sure you can without doubt call it a mistake. You'd have to evaluate the deal that sent the original pick away as a mistake before making that call. That still might be the case but I'd want you to show your work in that case.

And I disagree about not being able to afford "going for the homerun"... that's exactly what they need to do, I'd more argue that they can't afford NOT to go for the homerun. The Flames need to have elite pieces on deck for the post-Iginla/Kipper era, their not going to get that trying to work a walk (if we're going to use baseball metaphors.

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#22 Bikeit
June 24 2012, 12:02AM
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@Rexlibris

So they wanted another 2nd round pick to cover up his incompetence. Nice.

Or maybe they wanted another pick because they have lot's of scouts out there and see many hockey players, then say we really need to get this guy and a pick in the second would really fill a Draft need.

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#23 Oldtimer
June 25 2012, 10:31AM
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Kent, I AM an Oldtimer and remember seeing Lou Jankowski playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the late 50's and early 60's. Great skills and Mark's grandfather. Haven't seen any news talking about this Calgary connection. Not enough Oldtimers around I guess!!!

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