Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #15 Mark Jankowski

Kent Wilson
May 08 2013 11:56AM

This ranking probably comes as a surprise to many fans given Jankowski's profile in the Flames organization after being picked 21st overall in the 2012 draft. Like most first rounders immediately after they are chosen, Janko is considered in many circles to be a top prospect for the Flames, but the truth is his draft+1 year was rather underwhelming; to the degree that it's clear Jankowski is long ways off from contributing at the NHL level, assuming he makes it at all.

  Justin Ryan Kent Hayley BoL
Jankowski 14 12 14 NR NR

With just 7 goals and 18 points in 34 games as a freshman for Providence College, Jankowski finished the year with an NHL equivalence of just 18, which is way outside the domain of most future impact players even in their draft years, nevermind their draft+1 seasons.

When I looked at the young man's comparables in November, the threshold for most future NHLers who went the tier 2 hockey/college route college seemed to be about 0.7 points-per-game in the year after they were drafted. 

Janko settled in at 0.53 this season.

Only two guys from the group I examined in the comparables article managed less than a 0.68 PPG pace and became NHLers down the line: Tanner Glass and David Jones. Meaning the precedents for Jankowski aren't really there given his output. If he does indeed develop into a pro scorer down the road, he'll be an extreme outlier in just about every way imaginable. 

That said, there are reasons to like the player and give him the benefit of the doubt for now. There's no denying he has a decent package of skills with smooth skating, a long reach and soft hands. He is also very young, one of the youngest of his draft class, and skipped a step by going directly into college hockey as a 17/18 year old. In addition, Providence was one of the lowest scoring teams in Hockey East this year (the leam leader scored 24 points in 38 games), which makes it tough for a freshman to run up the numbers.

Conclusion

Jankowski was considered a project pick with high bust potential when the Flames chose him last year and that's what he remains today. He played in tough circumstances for such a young guy in college this year and survived, but his output doesn't suggest he's going to jump the queue either. Jankowski's results are going to have to take a very real step forward next season for him to be considered a legitimate offensive prospect in the organization and even then we're probably looking at a full 4-year development period in college before he ever challenges a pro roster.

The ranking is a reflection of his just okay numbers and high bust risk, but also his potential for eventually becoming something of worth. You can count on one finger the number of other forwards in the Flames top-15 ranking who have similarly marginal offensive output as prospects (NHLE's below 20) and that guy is much closer to making the show (try to guess who it is!).

I suspect Janko will go one of two ways in this ranking next season: either he'll make a big jump forward or will be bumped off completely.

Flames top 15 prospects

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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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#1 Colin.S
May 08 2013, 12:12PM
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I'm glad he's at least in the top 15 because I think he's a very worthwhile prospect, however it's kinda sad to see him on the fringe.

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#2 dotfras
May 08 2013, 12:19PM
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That sucks.

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#3 Parallex
May 08 2013, 12:19PM
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"try to guess who it is!".

Max Power?

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#4 Parallex
May 08 2013, 12:30PM
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On Jankowski: I basically dialed back my expectations on him for a lot of the reasons listed above... Poor (and inexperienced... so many freshmen) team offensively, undeveloped physique, very young age. So I give him a mulligan.

That ends this year though. He has to show something next NCAA season, he loses all his mitigating circumstances since he'll be older, his team will be more experienced (and in theory better), he'll have had another offseason to develop his frame.

If he's still a ultra-skinny, 0.5ppg guy next year then I'll say trouble is on the horizan.

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#6 Lordmork
May 08 2013, 12:43PM
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The thing I've found most disappointing about Jay Feaster has been his propensity to over-promise. Jankowski may yet turn into a skilled NHL player that justifies his first-round selection. That said, it was pretty optimistic to suggest that he was going to be the best player from this draft. We've heard similar lines since then, about a certain best hockey player outside the NHL, and another best goalie outside the NHL.

Taking gambles is fine. I just don't like the over promising that seems to be used to sell those kinds of decisions.

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#8 seve927
May 08 2013, 12:59PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay maybe there's two guys.

Horak?

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#10 Parallex
May 08 2013, 01:15PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay maybe there's two guys.

Max Power and Bouma?

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#12 seve927
May 08 2013, 01:24PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Ding.

Hey, Bouma didn't have an NHLE this year! Or it was 0. Which is I guess under 20.

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#13 the-wolf
May 08 2013, 01:25PM
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Here's hoping he takes that leap forward.

I've stated many times that I'm not knocking the player when being citical of that selection, but rather the strategy.

Zero prospect depth and the Flames select a 5 year project (and then declare him the best from that draft 9 years from now - yup, I'm counting). Hard enough to project players and that's who they take vs players projected to be 1 or 2 years away from stepping in.

That said, given his young age, potential for but current lack in size, skill set and because he sort of skipped a step in going to Providence, I'm actually willing to give him 2 years to crush it. At that point, however, the argument is definitely over. He either rips it up or is a cast-off.

Still, he needs to take a noticeable step forward next season and he's definitely a full 4 year college guy.

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#14 Jeff Lebowski
May 08 2013, 01:39PM
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Is there no consideration that he played on a defensive minded team? I believe the leading scorer on that team (who as a senior??) had 10 more points and Jankowski was hurt for a portion of the season.

I for one think that the team concept has a real consequence on the oft criticized "counting stats".

Moreover, what were the quality of his teammates?

Do we judge Gillies, the goalie who played on that team as an astronomical goalie? Why because he had gaudy goalie stats on a defensively minded team? Meh.

I for one don't give this rating much merit. At all.

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#15 Purple Hazze
May 08 2013, 01:44PM
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I think the biggest factor in determining whether he can take a step up next year is his weight. When he adds some size, and its only a matter of when and not if, as anyone who's gone through a similar growth spurt will tell you, I can see his numbers go up.

Maybe on his prospect updates for next year you guys should look at adding a lbs tracker for him.

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#16 Parallex
May 08 2013, 01:45PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

He's not an NHLer if he's at .50 PPG next year. You never want to write guys off so young, but there's pretty clear cut off points when it comes to this stuff. Unless you can shut-down the other team's star or drop the gloves, you need to put up points as a forward prospect to get anywhere.

Probably not... but even if he does just pace this year there's still a chance (however small) that he'll figure things out as an upper-classman. Definetly won't look good for his future prospects though.

My personal expectation for him is around 0.75PPG next year. That seems like a reasonable and achievable number for him. It's what Kreider managed to get on a much stronger team so it seems like a good benchmark.

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#17 beloch
May 08 2013, 01:50PM
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Even if it doesn't pan out, I still like the Jankowski pick. The alternative was a guaranteed mediocrity, which the Flames have no shortage of. If you need elite talent and can't pick high you have to accept some risk. For recognizing this, I'm willing to forgive Feaster for firmly grabbing his tonsils with his toes.

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#18 Bikeit
May 08 2013, 01:52PM
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Reminds me of when the Flames picked a projected 2nd round player in the first round and everyone was aghast. He turned out to be one of the best players in that draft year (not a strong year) once it was assessed a number of years later.

Can you name that player.

Hopefully history repeats.

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#20 Jeff Lebowski
May 08 2013, 01:56PM
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Make that (the leading scorer on Providence had) 6 more points while playing 4 more games.

Providence was tied for second for goals against (10 team league).

How can you guys not include this context when ranking individual performance?

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#21 Parallex
May 08 2013, 01:58PM
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@beloch

I disagree that the alternative was guaranteed mediocrity. Teravainan was available at the Flames original pick position as was Maata. Both are quality prospects.

Jankowski was a "home-run" swing (The guy I want + Sieloff) he could have played it safe and just taken the consensus choice but he went for extra bases. Maybe it pays off and maybe it doesn't. I still like the Chutzpah of the pick but the fact is he passed over non-marginal options at the time.

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#24 Jeff Lebowski
May 08 2013, 02:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If there was no consideration for those factors, I wouldn't have rated Jankowski at all. An 18 NHLE is profoundly underwhelming for any NHL forward prospect, let alone a guy who is expected to score as an NHLer.

I'd say the balance of evidence thus far leans in favor of Janko not being an exceptional prospect. The only reason to rank him higher...is nice scouting reports and the fact he was drafted in the first round.

You raise a number of issues here, but the truth is they are only potential contributors to his lackluster results this year. We don't know to what degree they suppressed his scoring, or if they did at all. Which is why you have supplied rhetorical questions in your rebuttal rather than actual evidence.

What we do know is he was a long bomb pick chosen out of a third tier HS system who didn't score at a notable rate in a season when most future NHLers start tearing it up.

He's young, he has some tools and there's lots of time for him to develop. But my skepticism has been deepened, not abated, by his performance this year.

The actual evidence is in how people dismiss counting stats when put in the context of corsi etc to "degrade" a player. For example Iginla may have been a prennial 30 goal guy but when you measure the differentials as to what he gives up, he doesn't look so good.

However this NHLE relies on counting stats to show the worth of a player.

Which one is it? Then, why not be consistent in the how players are assessed. ie don't use NHLE. Or use the same corsi etc to judge, like others are. If you don't have the numbers for non pro's then don't use it at all.

I concede, I'm no expert in advance stats AND I've relied on this site to explain and use them (as above).

I just don't understand how counting stats are kind of dismissed, or don't give the depth that advanced stats do, yet NHLE relies solely on them and we should use this a good tool to estimate player potential. Difficult to honestly assess, IMO.

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#25 Jeff Lebowski
May 08 2013, 02:07PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Did you miss this paragraph in the article?

That said, there are reasons to like the player and give him the benefit of the doubt for now. There's no denying he has a decent package of skills with smooth skating, a long reach and soft hands. He is also very young, one of the youngest of his draft class, and skipped a step by going directly into college hockey as a 17/18 year old. In addition, Providence was one of the lowest scoring teams in Hockey East this year (the leam leader scored 24 points in 38 games), which makes it tough for a freshman to run up the numbers.

Yup. did miss that paragraph. My bad.

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#26 suba steve
May 08 2013, 02:07PM
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@Kent Wilson

Joe was a 2nd rounder (27th overall) in 1985.

First round had only 21 picks that year.

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#29 Graham
May 08 2013, 02:21PM
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You would expect an offensive minded first round pick to dominate in almost any league outside the NHL. Everyone has off years, but it is really disappointing to see such a poor season playing College hockey. Jankowski was a controversial pick last year, and Feaster’s comments only added to the fire. I must admit I didn’t understand the pick last year, and like it even less this year. The Jankowski draft may well be the defining moment in Feaster reign as GM.

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#30 the-wolf
May 08 2013, 02:25PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

The actual evidence is in how people dismiss counting stats when put in the context of corsi etc to "degrade" a player. For example Iginla may have been a prennial 30 goal guy but when you measure the differentials as to what he gives up, he doesn't look so good.

However this NHLE relies on counting stats to show the worth of a player.

Which one is it? Then, why not be consistent in the how players are assessed. ie don't use NHLE. Or use the same corsi etc to judge, like others are. If you don't have the numbers for non pro's then don't use it at all.

I concede, I'm no expert in advance stats AND I've relied on this site to explain and use them (as above).

I just don't understand how counting stats are kind of dismissed, or don't give the depth that advanced stats do, yet NHLE relies solely on them and we should use this a good tool to estimate player potential. Difficult to honestly assess, IMO.

I'm definitely no advacned stats whiz, but I think the idea is 2-fold:

1) It's used to judge offensive players, not as an overall 200' game assessor. If you're supposed to be a scorer, than you should be scoring. That simple. That's why counting stats work - not to judge a player's overall game, but literally, "how is he scoring?"

2) It's used in comparison of similarly projected players. In other words, "how is this supposed future scorer doing next to that supposed future scorer?"

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#31 Parallex
May 08 2013, 02:33PM
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Graham wrote:

You would expect an offensive minded first round pick to dominate in almost any league outside the NHL. Everyone has off years, but it is really disappointing to see such a poor season playing College hockey. Jankowski was a controversial pick last year, and Feaster’s comments only added to the fire. I must admit I didn’t understand the pick last year, and like it even less this year. The Jankowski draft may well be the defining moment in Feaster reign as GM.

Heh, When history looks back on the Sutter Era Flames do you really think that the selection of Greg Nemisz is going to be his "defining moment"?

Individual draft picks tend not to be "defining moments". A pick would have to be a historic fail (Think #1 overall bust) or a historic win (Think franchise player in the 6/7th round) to warrent that kind of label.

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#33 SmellOfVictory
May 08 2013, 02:36PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Well there are issues with shades of gray when judging NHLers value versus each other relative to judging the chances of a prospect of making the NHL and, furthermore, making an impact when he gets there.

The vast majority of prospects fail to make the show. And only a small proportion of them become notable contributors.

As such, a prospect has to be extraordinary in some way to make the leap. So extraordinary in general that they typically dominate their peers to non-trivial degrees, regardless of circumstances.

Which isn't to say one should ignore context and circumstances when judging kids. But there are much clearer, much more obvious thresholds kids have to cross in order to be legit prospects.

Usually, a guy who can't clear those hurdles, whatever his reasons, isn't going to be a player of note at the highest level.

And, of course, there's always the fact that counting stats are used for prospects because nobody tracks shots in their respective leagues. NHLE gives you something other than a half dozen scouting reports to go off of, and at least it's some form of quantitative analysis.

Interesting note about the prospects this draft year: one thing mentioned by someone on HFBoards (I have no idea where he found the SH%) is that Drouin's SH% this season is roughly 25%, which is something like a 50% increase over his SH% the previous season.

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#35 Parallex
May 08 2013, 02:47PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

And, of course, there's always the fact that counting stats are used for prospects because nobody tracks shots in their respective leagues. NHLE gives you something other than a half dozen scouting reports to go off of, and at least it's some form of quantitative analysis.

Interesting note about the prospects this draft year: one thing mentioned by someone on HFBoards (I have no idea where he found the SH%) is that Drouin's SH% this season is roughly 25%, which is something like a 50% increase over his SH% the previous season.

33% or 24% depending on whether you use shots on goal or just shots. SH% isn't listed but if you go to the QMJHL network site and look at game by game statistics they tally year-to-date stats and Drouin has 125 "SOG" and 173 "S"... using his 41 goals and simple division get's you the %.

http://theqmjhl.ca/roster/gameByGame/id/8610/ls_season/171

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#36 sincity1976
May 08 2013, 02:54PM
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Using NHLE is a horrible way to evaluate prospects. It might be a decent way to determine how someone will produce in the NHL if they are to transition to the NHL immediately. But it doesn't tell you how a longer term prospect will progress.

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#38 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
May 08 2013, 03:18PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Is there no consideration that he played on a defensive minded team? I believe the leading scorer on that team (who as a senior??) had 10 more points and Jankowski was hurt for a portion of the season.

I for one think that the team concept has a real consequence on the oft criticized "counting stats".

Moreover, what were the quality of his teammates?

Do we judge Gillies, the goalie who played on that team as an astronomical goalie? Why because he had gaudy goalie stats on a defensively minded team? Meh.

I for one don't give this rating much merit. At all.

Yep. Providence sucked and the leading scorer played 4 more games but only had 8 more points, I believe (too lazY to check). He was cast into a top-six role as an 18 yr old rookie in the hardest NCAA division. Give the kid a break, boys.

I will most definitely reserve judgement till next year.

Personally, saw him play online a few times, and he's got great skills. Just needs to bulk up and catch up to the size and strength of the other NCAA players.

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#39 Derzie
May 08 2013, 03:23PM
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If a player is not dominant in the minors in some way, it is an extreme long shot that the NHL is in their future, i would think. Jankowski is not a project, he is a lottery ticket. I've seen nothing to indicate he is any better than his peers. Let's talk about the players that have better than lottery odds. #Janko649

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#40 Bikeit
May 08 2013, 03:29PM
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@Kent Wilson

Well actually 1996 Derek Morris. Not a forward, but still viewed as an off the lower board pick. I think Kelly Kisio saw him above where he was ranked in the second round. Just a case of that you cannot always trust the prospect rankings and that Janko could still turn out based on something a flames scout saw. I hope.

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#42 sincity1976
May 08 2013, 04:27PM
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@Kent Wilson

I agree with that. But we already knew that Jankowski is a ways away from the NHL. Nobody had any expectations he was going to be a big producer this season.

He might be oversold by Management and still a project. But I can't see 14 other Flames prospects that are better then he is in terms of his potential impact to the team.

I think we can all agree that this season will be a telling one for him though. Like you said, he is either going to shoot up the charts are drop off entirely.

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#43 BurningSensation
May 08 2013, 04:37PM
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I still think we are WAY too early to judge the Jankowski pick after one year (not that it will stop us from doing so).

I'm on record as having liked the move down to get Jankowski+Sielof, as it made more sense to swing for the fences AND get a 2nd rnder than to take an undersized guy like Tervainen, a stay at home Dman like Maata, or a 3rd liner with size like Girgensons.

I do think that Janko burned his freebie development year, and am hoping like mad he hits the gym and protein shakes this offseason.

Just an aside but I was googling mock drafts at Hockey's future and the one I found for last year had Jankowski in the top 20.

Also worth noting hat Hockey's Future has him as our 3rd best fwd prospect 7.5 D), behind Sven and Johnny Hockey (both 8.0 C).

He's a project, and we knew that. Patience! Now dammit!

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#44 Ryan Pike
May 08 2013, 04:38PM
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@Kent Wilson

A bit unfair, as Pelech was (at best) a Warrener prototype and then had a succession of injuries that de-railed his pro career.

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#46 thymebalm
May 08 2013, 04:55PM
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I've noticed that people have a real urge to defend Jankowski. It's very similar to the defences of Irving previously.

"Jankowski is a long-term project vs. Goalies take longer to develop", the 1st rounder argument, the "he plays on a bad teaam" argument. Stars find a way to shine. That's what I say.

At some point, the stats have to be there. You know, every year they give an award to the guy with the most points and the goalie with the best counting stats, and nobody seems to complain that they aren't at least ONE OF the best best goalies/players. So obviously counting stats mean something. They aren't great. They don't factor in as much of the game as corsi does, but they are the outcome of the chance*skill equation being rung-through game in and game out.

I think Jankowski has a chance to be awesome for the reasons listed above, he's young (only a couple of weeks older than some '13 eligible draft picks), he DID have incredible numbers in his dumpy league, and he does possess a frame with NHL potential, and he will really get the opportunity to shine this coming season.

I'm pessimistic about Jankowski because it seems ridiculous to draft off the board with a first round pick. You could have picked up a solid CHLer with a big body from Canada, and play it safe, but NO- Weisbrod swung for the fences with this 1st and his name and job will likely be attached to how Jankowski's career settles.

And if he's a project, what's the harm at ranking him #15? He's likely not doing to make it to the pros until a full college career and then what, its 2016 and likely everyone else on the list has graduated by that time anyway. 15 seems fair, it seems almost generous considering the low ceiling of college players.

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#47 T&A4Flames
May 08 2013, 04:56PM
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I give Janko a freebie this year as he was one of the youngest in his class. Also, he jumped from a high school league to NCAA's toughest div. Being that he was literaly weeks away from this year being his draft year, I'm willing to count the upcoming year as his draft +1.

He sure as hell better be bulking up.

Too bad he couldn't be at a school with more of an offensive group; maybe play with JohnnyG. Then again, he may not get the offensive opportunities at another school either.

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#48 bookofloob
May 08 2013, 05:03PM
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BAFFLED

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#49 Ryan Pike
May 08 2013, 05:12PM
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Incidentally, the last three drafts - with the scuttlebutt that Tod Button was left to his own devices in 2010 and 2011 and given specific protocols from Weisbrod in 2012 - have been very productive for the Flames thus far.

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#50 the-wolf
May 08 2013, 05:29PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Incidentally, the last three drafts - with the scuttlebutt that Tod Button was left to his own devices in 2010 and 2011 and given specific protocols from Weisbrod in 2012 - have been very productive for the Flames thus far.

Not trying to be smart ehre, but in what way do you mean?

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