Flames trade down, take Mark Jankowski 21st overall


The Flames made a trade and made a pick during the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The circumstances of both weren’t without a bit of hand-wringing among Flames fandom.

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With the clock ticking on their pick at 14th overall, the Flames pulled the trigger on a swap with the Buffalo Sabres. The Flames sent their first rounder to the Sabres for the pick Buffalo got for Paul Gaustad (21st overall) and a second rounder (42nd overall), essentially replacing the pick Calgary sent to Buffalo at last year’s draft. Feaster had previously mentioned that he wanted to attempt to get a second round pick.

Then the Flames went off the board when the time came, drafting centre Mark Jankowski. Jankowski was ranked 43rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and is a bit of a project. He’s 6-2 and 170 pounds, and plied his trade for Stanstead College, a prep school in Quebec. That said, he’s young (he turns 18 on September 13) and had very good offensive numbers in his league (94 points in 57 games).


He’s also got a great hockey background. His great-uncle was the legendary Red Kelly, his grandfather played in the NHL and his uncle’s a scout. He’s ear-marked for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL next season (Johnny Gaudreau’s old team), and then likely headed to Providence College of the NCAA on a scholarship. Based on his status as a prep school player headed to the NCAA, he’s a longer-term project. But he’s got some tools.

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Prospect guru Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus had this assessment of young Mr. Jankowski:

Playing in a pretty obscure league, Jankowski has impressed scouts I’ve talked to due to his significant growth physically and from a hockey development standpoint over the last year or two. Jankowski is an above-average skater who has a nice fluid look to his movements on top of good agility and top speed, although I should note that not every scout I talked to liked his skating. Jankowski’s best asset is his hockey sense, as he’s an aware, creative playmaker. He was checked tightly in games this year due to his skill level and the relative low talent level of his peers but he regularly executed above-average distributions and showed the ability to make plays in tight spaces. Jankowski tries to play physical, but despite good size he is not that effective in the physical game due to a significant lack of strength and a beanpole frame.

Jankowski has the puck skills and hockey sense to be a noticeable possession player but will need quite a few years of development time. He arguably has first round talent and could be a major sleeper, but due to the fact that I haven’t really seen him, I don’t feel comfortable putting him that high and this ranking is due to projection uncertainty as much as it is talent assessment.

In short: this could be a very shrewd pick or a bad one, and it’ll probably be a few years before we know either way.

  • They could have gotten Teravainen with that pick. But if they wind up with Jankowski, who could be a real sleeper, and use the 2nd rounder to grab one of those overlooked Swedes (Aberg, Collberg or even Bystrom) then I’d say they’re probably ahead of the game.

    It’s all a crapshoot after the first few picks anyway.

  • T&A4Flames

    I find the comments funny. All I’ve read over the last few months is that Sutters picks were so “safe.”. The big, strong farm boy from the western league that can lead a pack of horses, cows or pigs like no ones business. People wanted the high skilled, risky pick. And now that it was done, you’re all denouncing the pick. I liked this kid, I wanted him in the 2nd but, here he is. Hopefully it works out.

  • the forgotten man

    Really don’t have a sense whether this is a good pick or a bad pick, but I am glad the Flames have the courage to swing for the fences once in a while.

  • Franko J

    Love the pick! I say go for home runs unless there is a sure thing, and they added a 2nd round pick in the deal. Sure there’s risk, but what the hell, there’s risk with most picks past the first few – look at nearly every draft and there’s stars mixed with middling players or busts once into the middle the round. I don’t truly know the skill level of these guys, how it’ll translate into the NHL – obviously, from reading the chat and comments, many of you are very attuned to these players and their skills and know this will be a bust! I guess I’ll just have to choose to disagree.

    Also, by the way, because CS has a guy rated at 43 doesn’t mean by rule he has to be available at 42. There is absolutely nobody who knows if he was going to be available in the 2nd round. Go and get the guy you want – you’re the ones who have to live with the pick. Good for Feaster.

  • the forgotten man

    In 10 years, Feaster predicted, “Jankowski will be viewed as the best player in the 2012 draft,” adding “We felt we could take the gamble.”

    -from Globe & Mail

    Two things that drive me mental about this quote.

    First off, for a supposed lawyer, the Feast plays fast and loose with his words…guaranteed playoff spots and division titles, guaranteed deadline trades and now a kid playing Quebec high school hockey???!?! Is going to be the best player in this years draft…Wow, just wow.

    Bigger picture, no Mr. Feaster, the Flames do not have the luxury to take gambles at this time. In fact, beyond a handful of perpetual NHL bottom feeders, your club has the least wriggle room for errors or gambles… If I owned the club and read that tomorrow morning, Jay would be shown the door. This comment either shows that he doesn’t appreciate the hill this club has to climb or is simply delusional…take your pick.

    Funny that a club like Pittsburgh would take Maata and not “gamble”.

  • the forgotten man

    wow, what the heck was that. either this is a brilliant move or these guys are completely out of their minds. sure the kid is young, but he played canadian high school for christs sake.

  • BurningSensation

    I LOVE how Feaster works!

    Calgary has a history of taking guys like; Chucko, Pelech, Nemisz, etc., farmboy refrigerators who lacked skill.

    Feaster comes in and overturns the apple-cart, getting guys like Gaudreau and Baertschi – high value skill players who slipped in the draft because they were viewed as being flawed (too small).

    Yeah, Maata was the ‘safe’ pick. A probable second pairing defenseman with size and grit. Meat and potatoes.

    But Feaster doesn’t want ‘safe’, he wants a homerun. His scouts think they have one, and that the Flames can drop down in the draft and still get him – so we make the deal with Buffalo, and add a 2nd rnd pick, and still get the skill guy whose biggest problem is that he played in the ‘wrong’ league.

    Feaster got to take a swing for the fences AND he covers his bet by landing a 2nd rnd pick.

    LOVE this deal. It shows both intelligence and BALLS.

  • Skidplate

    Well, I dont know much about this kid. Good pick bad pick, who knows, this one is so far down the road before we can firmly say either way. Problem is, we need the youth quicker, we need the help now. I’d be oK with this pick if we traded a roster player for that 21st pick overall. Probably could have gotten LA’s pick or NJ pick & still got this kid. I think we needed to pick one of the gifts that dropped to us & taken Ceci or Girgensons. We need to use our older assets & get some NHL ready help for the Baerschte’s on a faster timeline. We have a tough road ahead of us.


  • Franko J

    Let see how enamoured Feaster is with this pick. Last year after the draft didn’t Feaster immediately sign Baertschi? I wondering if he will do the same with Jankowski?

    @ T&A4Flames

    I’m not upset or complaining about the fact that Feaster is listening to his scouting staff a choosing a player that they are convinced will be very good player in a few years. What upsets me is that they didn’t get full value for trading down. Whether Jankowski pans out or not, I think there were better options maybe offers out there. Maybe after Pouliot was picked, this set the trade in motion.

    @ Burningsensation

    Got a second round pick that they gave up last year for Kotalik. Really gutsy. The guts would have been trade Regher straight up for Butler and maybe Byron. Buy out Kotalik, keep the second pick. Where is the intellectual honesty now?

    “We need to use our older assets & get some NHL ready help for the Baerschte’s on a faster timeline. We have a tough road ahead of us.”

    Couldn’t agree more Kevin R. Drafting Jankowski is a risky pick, but in reality you are correct. How does it help this team now. With this pick the road has become much more difficult.

    • BurningSensation

      @Fanco J:
      “Got a second round pick that they gave up last year for Kotalik. Really gutsy. The guts would have been trade Regher straight up for Butler and maybe Byron. Buy out Kotalik, keep the second pick. Where is the intellectual honesty now?”

      IMO Butler outplayed Regehr by a healthy margin this year, and is a better fit moving forward. Kotalik was a salary dump, that gave the team lots of flexibility, that I have zero problems with. What any of this has to do with intellectual honesty or taking Jankowski is beyond me.

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    The Flames have shied away from drafting this type of player since the early 90’s. We need high end skill and this kid seems to fit that description. If he’s 2 or 3 or even 4 years away, he will still be only 22!! Relax people, he is still growing and I think they made a great pick here.
    As far as the draft goes, it’s better to be lucky than good (see Detroit).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I’m fine with the pick, just not at #21. Overall this looks like a very reckless pick. Either the Flames scouting staff are as good as their results from last year, or they have become over confident.

    I’m afraid that Feaster moved back for no other reason than wanting to make good on his assertion that he would able to get the 2nd rounder bsck, he gave away last year to Buffalo.

  • the forgotten man

    Eat your peas.
    Wash behind your ears.
    Always select the best proven talent available.
    Squat to pick up the soap.

    Ahhh…words of eternal wisdom.

    That is, if you’re wise.

  • Teamsupreme

    I really don’t know what to say about this pick. I was going into this expecting to receive olli maata or radek faksa, possibly even grigerenko, but then we traded down and I thought for sure we were going for Aberg. This kid was hopefully playing in a tough enough league that those numbers actually mean something. He is young though, really young, so I guess feaster might be trying to make some point that we are going to be a young team. I think he has talent, hopefully his backround will help him develop and he will get bigger. Still, I’m hoping Aberg finds himself in a flames jersey tomorrow, someone I think can make an immediate push for a roster spot.