July 31 2012 09:23AM
In a move that's only surprising in how long it took, Flames first round pick Mark Jankowski has announced he'll be attending Providence College right away instead of joining the Dubuque Fighting Saints for a year.
“I think this is the right way for me to go,” Jankowski said Monday afternoon from his off-season home in Hamilton, Ont. “I believe I’m ready for the jump"
While it seems like this was mostly Jankowski's choice, it's hard to imagine the Flames are particularly upset by it. Any first round choice should be good enough to be playing competition harder than that of the USHL. When given how good he looked at development camp against older players with more experience, the NCAA level seems much more appropriate. He'll also probably the most skilled player on the Friars, which means prime ice time and power play experience.
The Providence Friars might be a far cry from Johnny Gaudreau's and Bill Arnold's Boston College Eagles, but that's not to say he's still basically playing in the USHL. Despite a low quality of teammates (only two players on the Friars last year have been drafted) he'll be playing against top competition in one of the best NCAA hockey conferences- Hockey East. This means games against Boston College, Boston University, UNH, Northeastern, and the University of Vermont— among others.
In addition to giving Jankowski a better setting for development, this move will give the organization and the fans a better context in which to judge him- especially with two other prospects in the exact same conference.
Only time will tell with Mark Jankowski, but this move to the NCAA instead of the USHL gives hope that he might not have been as much of a reach as most fans initially assumed.