Five things: All college

Ryan Lambert
March 20 2014 09:00AM

number-5

1. A big surprise

With the college hockey season now winding down and the NCAA tournament slated to start in just eight days, I figure this is a good time to look at the season enjoyed by the Flames' various prospects in the NCAA, with a bit more of a focus on the notable ones. This feeling, though, is precipitated largely by one person, who I never expected: Mark Jankowski.

The simple fact is that I now have significant reason to believe that the kid has figured out how to be an effective college hockey player. In his last 15 games, he has 12 points (5-7-12) after posting the same number (7-5-12) in his previous 21. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a difference between 0.8 points per game and .57.

And not that points are the end-all stat when it comes to evaluating players. And in fact, the points have maybe been a longer time coming. You might recall that I went to a game around the end of November in which he didn't even record a shot attempt. That was his 14th game of the year, more than 40 percent of the way through the NCAA regular season of 34 games, and at that time he had just 23 shots, which is sad, especially because of the general softness of the competition he faced in that time. He also suffered a stretch of five games out of eight in which he didn't have a single one.

But since then, he's ripped off 50 shots in 22 games, boosting his rate from 1.6 a night to nearly 2.3 That's an increase of almost 50 percent, and it's very encouraging to see. Of course, I'm still not sure that's first-round pick material, but at the same time, it's not nothing, and he still needs to bulk up. Providence has at least one or two more games this season (a miracle would have to happen for them to not-make the NCAA tournament), but if Jankowski can build on this stretch-run performance over the summer and into next year, the pick might end up not quite being the disaster it has been to this point.

2. Another big surprise

You might have heard over the past several months that Johnny Gaudreau went on something of a scoring run, in which he got a point in 31 straight games to tie a record set by Paul Kariya more than 20 years ago.

Well the streak, and Boston College's hopes of winning the Hockey East title, came to an end this weekend as the Eagles lost a best-of-three series to Notre Dame, which has now beaten them in three of their five meeting this year, all of which were in Boston. Before that, though, Gaudreau went off on Saturday night to even force the Game 3 in which his streak was snapped, ripping off a 2-2-4 line in terrifying fashion, which you can see here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2flUlk8FOIw

I want the power play puck movement on his first goal to ask me to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance. Four points. All of them pretty nice.

He will, though, have nearly two weeks off to think about what caused the Eagles' crashout and the end of his streak (namely that their defense got smoked by Notre Dame for most of the weekend, in which they allowed 13 goals, and that the Irish physically punished him every time he got the puck in Games 1 and 3, forcing him to the outside and keeping him more or less at bay). Of course, any time you can say that you rendered a player largely ineffective by holding him to just five points in three games, then I guess you have a pretty special player on your hands anyway.

He finished his 37-game league season at 32-37-69, 29-32-61 of which came during that streak over 31 games from Nov. 1 to March 15.

3. Another consideration

One might want to point out, too, that Billy Arnold, who runs the pivot on Gaudreau's line and is perhaps the best defensive forward in the entire country, is on a little streak of his own, picking up four assists on the weekend after being held off the scoresheet for the previous three games. His shot totals have been a little more underwhelming than even Jankowski's early in the year, as he has just nine in his last nine games, which isn't good enough. Of course, his job is to give it to Gaudreau or Kevin Hayes and let them go to work, which is why only 12 of his 48 points this season are goals.

With that having been said, he is at best a defensive forward prospect, so production shouldn't really be his primary concern to begin with. Especially because, as a fourth-year player, he's going to the pros regardless. 

The good news for Flames fans is that he'll probably have some company. After all the will-he/won't-he talk that's gone on for much of the season, the general consensus among many plugged-in experts both in Boston and across the continent is that Gaudreau will sign when the Eagles' season officially ends in the NCAA tournament. I think they can still win it all.

4. Gillies' return to form

In much the same way that Jankowski had problems early in the season, Jon Gillies had some real difficulties in the middle of it. You might recall that after World Juniors, he saw his save percentage slip from .941 to .926 in just 11 games (during which he suffered 32 goals against), which tells you how bad things got. Providence, not surprisingly, went 3-6-2 in those games.

Since then, though, he's built it back up to a very respectable .930, and the Friars have won six straight (a game in which he allowed three goals on 33 shots to lowly UMass Amherst, included in the 11-game slump, was a 4-3 win). During those last five games, he's conceded just eight times on 158 shots (.952).

That's more like it, and that's why Providence could be very dangerous indeed in both the Hockey East and NCAA tournaments.

5. And the rest...

The Flames of course have a few other, less notable, NCAA prospects. For example, there's John Gilmour, who I think has had a fine second season on the Providence blue line. He had 5-13-18, which is not an insignificant number, but more impressive is his 67 shots on goal. That's only 56th in the NCAA among defensemen, but I'd imagine few guys in his neighborhood had as little in the way of time on ice as he did (not that the stat is officially tracked in college hockey). Pretty much every time I've seen him this year, I've walked away not-unimpressed.

Michigan State second-year forward Matt DeBlouw might only have four points (and 13 games in which he did not appear), but two of those points have come in his last three games, and against teams that aren't exactly pushovers: Michigan and Wisconsin. He will need to up his shot rate, though; he only has 29 in 22 appearances. I'd say he's a largely inconsequential player for the Spartans, which is maybe what you expect from a seventh-round pick.

Finally, there's Colgate's Tim Harrison, who has likewise underwhelmed as a first-year forward. Like DeBlouw, he has no goals, only five assists, and 24 SOG in 32 games played. At least you can say he's probably still learning the game, and he doesn't have the skills on the puck that a player like Jankowski brings to the table if nothing else. At 6-foot-3 and 193 pounds at just 20 years old, though, Calgary probably loves him, because Calgary loves size.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Jeff Lebowski
March 20 2014, 09:15AM
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So basically, you were wrong. How refreshing on FN, to admit when you blew it. Good work.

It's hard admitting you've been a rash, unsophisticated judger of talent. You deserve kudos.

When in other areas, have you witnessed someone be so completely wrong that they give the impression of being down right ignorant, only to have them unequivocally admit that they are an idiot to the highest degree? Tip o the cap, sir.

It's incredible that when your only angle was to force this square peg (Jankowski and his development rate) into your round hole (however you do your prospect 'analysis') that you can return to the pages and admit that you now believe Jankowski is a human being, a dynamic system capable of showing non linear progression.

Again, well done.

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#2 Christian Roatis
March 20 2014, 09:41AM
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#FNFaceoff put him in a good mood. ;-)

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#3 SmellOfVictory
March 20 2014, 09:50AM
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Great update, especially regarding Jankowski (I mean, Arnold, Gillies, Gaudreau are good to hear as well, but it's comparably easy to hear about how they're doing, because they're all doing so well - Jankowski information is quite tough to come by).

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#4 Primo
March 20 2014, 10:06AM
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As I said before glad to hear that Janko's development is progressing and he may end up being exactly what Feaster/Weisbrod were bragging about.

Selfishly it helps ease the pain in my gut every time I see Ceci, Girgennson's and Maata play!

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#5 McRib
March 20 2014, 10:11AM
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Nice to hear Lambert is warming slightly to Mark Jankowski as a prospect that he watches fairly often I believe living out east, passing the eye test.

The biggest thing for me (having been a major late bloomer myself) is that once Jankowski adds 30-40 pounds during the next couple summers he will be able to win more battles in the corners and out front off of strength rather than just plus stickhandling and that should really take his offensive game to the next level. When I have watched highlights of the points he is producing this season 95% of them come off of skilled plays and intelligent positioning. None of them are from power moves, which is limiting offensive potential he is supposed to be a power forward after all and isn't that yet.

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#6 thprop1
March 20 2014, 10:15AM
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@Primo

That feeling in your gut when you see "Girgennson" play is most likely the runs not envy.

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#7 McRib
March 20 2014, 10:25AM
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@Primo

Considering the Flames were only drafting character players under Feaster it doesn't surprise me that they didn't draft Zemgus Girgensons (He couldn't pass the NCAA clearing house which is a High School average of 60%) and Olli Maata fell for similar reasons. I am a fan of drafting character kids, but guys like Girgensons, Maata are going to be casualties that fall by the wayside if we go that route, but I think once these kids start making millions of dollars having young players with a head on their shoulders is a positive.

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#8 Wonger
March 20 2014, 10:28AM
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No team in the NHL has done a more thorough or better job scouting/drafting/signing top US College talent than the Flames under Feaster/Burke!!! I am an Oiler fan first, Flames second, but respect the way the Flames play every night, and the leadership throughout this organization, both on and off of the ice!

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#9 McRib
March 20 2014, 10:29AM
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@Wonger

"I am an Oiler fan first, Flames second.." This is possible.... At least your not a Canucks fan. Haha

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#10 Wonger
March 20 2014, 10:55AM
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McRib wrote:

"I am an Oiler fan first, Flames second.." This is possible.... At least your not a Canucks fan. Haha

The Canuckleheads are my least favourite team in the whole world!!! I am both respectful and envious of the Flames CHARACTER - I am never disapointed after watching a Flames game - win or lose the effort and commitment is always there - I have left Rexall Place in Edmonton too many times over the last few years wondering why I wasted $$$$$ on a ticket!!!I hope this changes soon, though I honestly can't see any light at the end of this dismal tunnel!!!

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#11 Primo
March 20 2014, 11:00AM
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Wonger wrote:

No team in the NHL has done a more thorough or better job scouting/drafting/signing top US College talent than the Flames under Feaster/Burke!!! I am an Oiler fan first, Flames second, but respect the way the Flames play every night, and the leadership throughout this organization, both on and off of the ice!

I totally agree! As much as I like/support the Burke hiring it is becoming apparent that the scouting portion of Feaster's responsibilities were executed very adequately!

Having said that I'm more than comfortable that it will be Burke paving the way for the future and pulling the trigger on any trades at the draft table or later this summer.

Strategic decisions made in the next 2 years will be very critical for the Flames!

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#12 danglesnipecelly
March 20 2014, 11:20AM
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Harder to be a grump now that you're not so anonymous? I must say that after reading virtually everything on this site for the last two years I was quite interested to see what everyone looks like yesterday...

Lambert surprisingly I thought you were quite engaging actually (didn't see that coming) and listening to you was less like a kick in the junk than reading your articles...

Anyway glad that everyone agreed for the most part that #tankmode is the way to go for the remaining games this season. If you believe what Corey Pronman has to say then the 2nd tier of prospects in this years draft is 3-7 and the 3rd tier quality wise begins at #8. I would love to see us picking top 3 but don't see that happening anymore - if we're not careful the 5 slot we're in now will quickly be 7 or 8 as the Preds and Canes are pro tankers... hell Nashville may not score another goal this year.

And as for Kent's point yesterday that the Flames can't really do much more to tank we all know that the answer is sitting at the end of the bench wearing a ball cap. The return of the Mack is the missing ingredient in the #tankmode recipe. I wanna see him in any B2B's and once Ramo returns send Ortio to Abby and split the string 50/50 between Joey Mac and Ramo under the guise of easing Ramo back in after injury.

Last point, someone posted a few days ago that if we end up picking 7 or 8 we should take Virtanen. Totally agree! Great wheels, shot, size and a RW. Yes please.

PS Sorry this ended up being way off topic :(

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#13 danglesnipecelly
March 20 2014, 11:20AM
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Harder to be a grump now that you're not so anonymous? I must say that after reading virtually everything on this site for the last two years I was quite interested to see what everyone looks like yesterday...

Lambert surprisingly I thought you were quite engaging actually (didn't see that coming) and listening to you was less like a kick in the junk than reading your articles...

Anyway glad that everyone agreed for the most part that #tankmode is the way to go for the remaining games this season. If you believe what Corey Pronman has to say then the 2nd tier of prospects in this years draft is 3-7 and the 3rd tier quality wise begins at #8. I would love to see us picking top 3 but don't see that happening anymore - if we're not careful the 5 slot we're in now will quickly be 7 or 8 as the Preds and Canes are pro tankers... hell Nashville may not score another goal this year.

And as for Kent's point yesterday that the Flames can't really do much more to tank we all know that the answer is sitting at the end of the bench wearing a ball cap. The return of the Mack is the missing ingredient in the #tankmode recipe. I wanna see him in any B2B's and once Ramo returns send Ortio to Abby and split the string 50/50 between Joey Mac and Ramo under the guise of easing Ramo back in after injury.

Last point, someone posted a few days ago that if we end up picking 7 or 8 we should take Virtanen. Totally agree! Great wheels, shot, size and a RW. Yes please.

PS Sorry this ended up being way off topic :(

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#14 Kent Wilson
March 20 2014, 11:31AM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

So basically, you were wrong. How refreshing on FN, to admit when you blew it. Good work.

It's hard admitting you've been a rash, unsophisticated judger of talent. You deserve kudos.

When in other areas, have you witnessed someone be so completely wrong that they give the impression of being down right ignorant, only to have them unequivocally admit that they are an idiot to the highest degree? Tip o the cap, sir.

It's incredible that when your only angle was to force this square peg (Jankowski and his development rate) into your round hole (however you do your prospect 'analysis') that you can return to the pages and admit that you now believe Jankowski is a human being, a dynamic system capable of showing non linear progression.

Again, well done.

Please tone down the personal attacks on the writers or I'll have to bring out the ban hammer Jeff. Feel free to disagree all you want, of course, but there's a way to do that without slinging mud.

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#15 Chambers
March 20 2014, 11:42AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

wow..are you ever a bitter guy. A good walk and fresh air will help!

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#17 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 12:10PM
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@Primo

so you think he'll be one of the best picks in the draft? I think we may have forgotten there's about 5-10 guys in that draft that are having good nhl seasons. janko just had an okay ncaa season. he's still got a long way to go before he's even replacement level.

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#18 MyTwoCents
March 20 2014, 12:24PM
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Wow Kent, so quick to threaten a long time citizen of FN with an IP ban? I think you could've also handled it better instead of channeling Brownlee.

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#19 MWflames
March 20 2014, 12:30PM
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Just looking at Cap Geek. Projected salary cap next year is $71M which would make the cap floor $52M IIRC. Flames currently have about $31M spent for next year in 15 roster spots, and the highest contract that they could potentially resign is Butler's $1.7M(other than Cammalleri's $6M). In other words they have to create about $21M in cap with about 8 young guys or replacement level hockey players... they might just have to throw out a heavy contract to a UFA.

Burke has his work cut out for him. It'll be interesting to see how he aquires cap hits. I could see him trading prospects for capable young NHLer's.... Also this assumes, guys like wideman, hudler, glencross etc don't get traded.

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#20 Primo
March 20 2014, 12:42PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

so you think he'll be one of the best picks in the draft? I think we may have forgotten there's about 5-10 guys in that draft that are having good nhl seasons. janko just had an okay ncaa season. he's still got a long way to go before he's even replacement level.

Don't forget we traded down and obtained a second rounder...Patrick Seiloff! So when you think of those 5-10 other guys you need to consider the Janko/Seiloff acquisitions. It's starting to look even better!!

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#21 T&A4Flames
March 20 2014, 12:45PM
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Off topic, but I just heard Agostino is practicing on a line with Monahan and Colborne. I like that line and I'm saying right now, AGS will score his 1st NHL goal tomorrow night.

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#22 Bob Cob
March 20 2014, 12:52PM
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Even Marc-Antoine Pouliot thinks Mark Jankowski is a bad first round pick.

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#23 ultrathinzigzags
March 20 2014, 12:53PM
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How significant is Granlund's injury? I am guessing he is done for the year? Disappointing to see both him get hurt as well as Sieloff losing a whole season. I am however excited to see Agostino too now was just enjoying seeing what Granlund was capable of

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#24 Chambers
March 20 2014, 12:55PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Off topic, but I just heard Agostino is practicing on a line with Monahan and Colborne. I like that line and I'm saying right now, AGS will score his 1st NHL goal tomorrow night.

If he does score it will be as a right winger, a position he is unfamiliar with.

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#25 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 12:58PM
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@Primo

sieloff has played in 70 games in three seasons. he has done really nothing since being drafted. I believe both have the potential to be nhlers, but i don't believe their combined impact will be greater than that of a guy like ceci or maatta or teuvo.

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#26 Primo
March 20 2014, 12:59PM
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John Ramage sent down to Alaska today. I thought he looked really impressive in Penticiton but obviously he has had a tough season. Hope he can recover. I believe he is a right handed defenseman. Something the Flamers really need!

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#27 T&A4Flames
March 20 2014, 01:05PM
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Chambers wrote:

If he does score it will be as a right winger, a position he is unfamiliar with.

Colbornes been playing the RW.

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#28 T&A4Flames
March 20 2014, 01:06PM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Even Marc-Antoine Pouliot thinks Mark Jankowski is a bad first round pick.

Because MAP's opinion really matters to anyone.

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#29 Primo
March 20 2014, 01:22PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

sieloff has played in 70 games in three seasons. he has done really nothing since being drafted. I believe both have the potential to be nhlers, but i don't believe their combined impact will be greater than that of a guy like ceci or maatta or teuvo.

Wow..these kids are 19 years old!! One has been sick (and looked extremely impressive when healthy) and the other has just played his second season of NCAA.

You need to show some patience and see how this all plays out.

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#30 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 01:23PM
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@Primo

there is a certain curve most players are on at respective points. they are not on the curve right now. I'm not being impatient, I'm simply measuring my expectations based on current results.

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#31 Primo
March 20 2014, 01:33PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

there is a certain curve most players are on at respective points. they are not on the curve right now. I'm not being impatient, I'm simply measuring my expectations based on current results.

That's fine, they are your expectations.

With Seiloff let me know when/if your curve is able to measure heart, desire, toughness and speed?

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#32 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 01:36PM
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@Primo

funny enough, it can measure that stuff. it's called "every nhler has those to some degree and with the exception of speed none are really relevant". if you have a reason that I should be more positive that is actually tangible I'd like to hear it, because it seems like your argument is simply that they're young.

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#33 mattyc
March 20 2014, 02:27PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

funny enough, it can measure that stuff. it's called "every nhler has those to some degree and with the exception of speed none are really relevant". if you have a reason that I should be more positive that is actually tangible I'd like to hear it, because it seems like your argument is simply that they're young.

Maybe it's just semantics, but if those things exist/affect hockey playing ability, they are measured in facets that meaningfully affect goal/shot differential (if a player has a lot of heart, and heart matters, then it should reflect in something that correlates with winning).

Having said all that, you seem to be taking a pretty absolutist position for a sample (and curve) that's riddled with white noise.

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#34 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 02:30PM
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@mattyc

exactly.

let me clarify: not every player on the curve makes it, not every player off the curve doesn't. there's a general way that a player is supposed to develop depending on his position based on how others before him have developed and neither of these guys look like they're on that curve. I said above that they still have the potential to be nhlers.

I'd just rather base my opinions and projections on facts - even if there is significant noise - than on conjecture. the correlation of goals to wins is higher than "age" or "potential", and the correlation of shot attempts is more than goals.

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#35 mattyc
March 20 2014, 02:38PM
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@Justin Azevedo

yeah. My only point is that it's still early days. Any projection this early on isn't very robust. If we're seeing the same signs in a year, it's a lot easier to separate noise and signal, but it's early days still.

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#36 maimster
March 20 2014, 04:21PM
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Lambert,

Assuming you were at the B.C. games this past weekend (or saw them), I'd like your opinion on Gaudreau's play in the first game. I happened to be at the game and agree with your comment above that he was knocked off the puck easily and played on the edges. I could tell he was the most talented player on the ice, but I was a bit disappointed (well, the whole team was disappointing). Was this game a major outlier from what you'd seen previously, or does he have some serious strengthening up to do?

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#37 Parallex
March 20 2014, 04:35PM
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mattyc wrote:

yeah. My only point is that it's still early days. Any projection this early on isn't very robust. If we're seeing the same signs in a year, it's a lot easier to separate noise and signal, but it's early days still.

It's not really "early days" we've pretty much concluded the draft +2 year... how much time has to pass before it's no longer the "early days" 3 years? 4 years? and if that's still the "early days" what are the middle and late days?

Falling under the curve in one year can be written off as an aberration but two two straight sounds more like the beginning of a trend.

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#38 Jeff Lebowski
March 20 2014, 06:17PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Please tone down the personal attacks on the writers or I'll have to bring out the ban hammer Jeff. Feel free to disagree all you want, of course, but there's a way to do that without slinging mud.

OK. I enjoy criticizing critics but I went too far.

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#39 Justin Azevedo
March 20 2014, 06:45PM
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@Parallex

I'd argue they've both been off of the curve for three full seasons, frankly.

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#40 Jeff Lebowski
March 20 2014, 08:32PM
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Ryan Lambert wrote:

to be clear this was 100 percent not what i was doing thank you

You're a cynic. I want to punch cynics in the face but it's illegal.

But it's your job. Sorry for misrepresenting it.

PS- I don't like you.

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#41 EugeneV
March 20 2014, 11:43PM
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Justin, I was trying to reply to your comment in the NHLE thread the other day, but it seems like this is a good thread to put it into.

I believe that you are incorrect on how the NHLE multiplier is used in regards to :

a. Seniors vs Sophomores etc

b. Late birthdates

c. Physical maturity

d. Player skill vs player use

e. and 10 other things which I can't be bothered noting

I say that the multiplier (.41) should be different for a Sophomore than it is for a Senior (jankowski vs Arnold).

You have Arnold second on your NHLe list ahead of the likes of Monahan, Poirier and Granlund and I don't believe he will EVER score more than them. (You say he is supposed to be a defensive whiz in your remarks above though, so take that statement with a grain of salt)

Let's compare apples with apples though.

Bill Arnold stats and league

Year Team League GP G A pts

2008-09 Nobles Prep USHS 29 28 27 55

2009-10 USNTDP Jrs USHL 26 8 15 23 NHLE 25

2010-11 BC NCAA 39 10 10 20 NHLE17

Mark Jankowski stats and league

2011-12 Stanstead CAHS 41 31 26 57

2012-13 Providence NCAA 34 7 11 18 NHLE17

2013-14 Providence NCAA 36 12 12 24 NHLE23

I could EASILY make the point that the 3 years above match up if you count Jankowski's first year at NCAA level to be HIS USHL season which he didn't play but Arnold did. If this is the case then I think you can actually say that Jankowski is AHEAD of Arnold in terms of scoring when you consider that his share of Providence team scoring was much higher than Arnolds at the same points in their development.

On a much weaker Providence team to boot.

In fact I believe that within the next year Mark will be safely on his way and even the FN team will be on board regarding his potential to be an above average NHL player. (I wrote this a week ago, but the site kept rejecting my post)

I'm not cutting Arnold up, just elevating Jankowski in terms of where he may REALLY be at.

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#42 EugeneV
March 20 2014, 11:45PM
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double post

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#43 Colin
March 21 2014, 12:40AM
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Not to be a downer on the Jankowski praise, but I thought a previous 5 Things listed Jankowski as being down on the depth chart, 3rd or 4th line down. So if all these shots/points are being generated from a 3rd/4th line position in NCAA, that doesn't fill me with a whole lot of hope, quite the opposite.

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#44 Justin Azevedo
March 22 2014, 10:58AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
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props

@EugeneV

arnold was 3 months younger than janko when he was drafted. it's absurd that an entire year is equal to three months.

let's be clear here: the nhle multiplier is not MY multiplier. it is based off scoring rates of players transferring leagues. janko is scoring at half of the rate that a player about 2 years older, 3 inches shorter and 10 pounds heavier is. these aren't my predictions, they are based on current results.

arnold has scored at his pace, janko has scored at his. i doubt arnold is going to be as big of a scorer in the nhl yeah, but that's because he's playing with gaudreau. there was a reason arnold was a 5th round pick.

as a 5th round pick, that nhle rate in his first year is great! as a 1st round pick, it's ass.

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