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.
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.
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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