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.

  • 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.

  • Emir

    I liked Teravainen and was hoping they were going to pick him. I didn’t like the trade down and when I saw they went for Jankowski I lost my mind and left.

    Like seriously, we had the 42nd pick and this guy was ranked at 43rd. WTF was going on, we could have got Maata still at that point and it would have looked good.

    So i’m driving and listening to the FAN and I hear a bit more about him. Super early birthday, sept 13. The kid has grown 6 inches in the last 2 years. This is extremely significant because teens have their growth spurt typically from 14-15. In this case we are looking at 15-17 which is unusual but not out of the ordinary. Long story short, its all good signs in terms of physical development.

    The downside i’m still staring at is he put up points in an easy league.

    So while I have less to be mad about its a high risk high reward move. If it fails, well the whole org looks like complete idiots. At least we can say that Jay trusts his scouts no matter how nutty they may be. We will talk about this pick for years to come.

  • Franko J

    Earlier this week I heard his name bantered around and plenty of whispers about being a sleeper player. I just think Feaster could have down better with the trade. It is not that I cared they moved down, but IMO I think the Flames could have got better value for moving down.
    Missing out on Ceci, and Girgensons I think will haunt this team in the decade. Remember Kidd for Brodeur? Well I think this trade down is a major letdown.

  • Emir

    On another note, the FAN was talking about some “serious money” put into the flames scouting system. Kent is there some sort of super computer for this??? I’m just wonder what does serious $$$ get in scouting. I always thought it was a people as the key type of business.

  • Graham

    I just don’t know what to say. I like this move because it is a very aggressive move that says that the Flames will stick to their list no matter what. But I think the reasons why I don’t like this move sort of outweigh the reasons why I like this move. First of all, we had the 14th overall pick. I believe we could’ve taken Teuvo Teravainen, somebody who will likely hit the NHL sooner and is less of a dark horse. Second, we could have bolstered our defense with the addition of Ceci, or Maatta. When we traded down, I thought, okay Feaster probably knows what he’s doing. Maatta came along once more, and it seemed like Feaster had played this draft perfectly. Drop to pick up Maatta and then we could a solid middle of the pack pick in the second round. And then he picks Jankowski. I’m not saying the kid won’t be good. I just think that we should have picked somebody who will have more of an immediate impact such as Teravainen or Ceci or Maatta. What happens happens. If Feaster and Staff can do what they did last yeaer, but this time with more picks, maybe this draft will turn out okay.

  • Truculence

    This is Tod Button`s pick all the way. His brother on TSN has been harping about this kid all year (14th on his list) and I am positive he told his brother to take a gamble with the kid. However, Craig also had Teuvo ranked fifth, so I don`t quite know the reasons behind Wesibrod and Tod Button`s decision to forego the Finn. Maybe Weisbrod raised objections over size and grit.

    This pick will be remembered for a long time in Calgary, though -be it in a good or bad way.

  • Franko J

    The one thing I hate is watching the rest of the leagues teams and fans laugh at us. How many negative tweets were there on the tsn coverage. It really is embarrassing. Take the best player Feaster. This totally smells like kris chucko to me.

  • RKD

    Feaster got back the 2nd pick he surrendered in the trade last year, there was no Baertschi calibre like player for Calgary at 14.

    This team is still setting up for a few years down the road. In a few more years, all these prospects we keep writing about will hopefully turn in NHL regulars for the Flames.

    Games against the Oilers are going to get a lot harder, now they have to stop Yakupov, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle. Eek.

  • Franko J

    Crazy day eh gents? This is the draft for ya, a bunch of crazy. Everyone here’s pretty much covered it, either an awesome pick or a horrawful pick. We won’t find out for probably at least 4-5 years.

    BTW, is there a live chat tomorrow?

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I wonder how many people, making comments one way or the other, have actually seen the kid play?

    So the ‘substance’ of your positions are based on conjecture.

    I’ll wait and “SEE”.

  • Franko J

    There is no doubt that the Flames pick of Jankowski was not anticipated.

    That said, with the unpredictable nature of the first round overall, I think the best move they made was to trade down, retaining a first rounder and picking up a second rounder. Watching the talking heads and trying to patch together what they were saying with my own observations of the WHL players primarily and gauging them against those that I saw at the WJHC, anything after the top 3 selections is essentially a crap shoot anyway.

    That said, my point is that having a larger number of picks in a draft that is overall lower in quality might just reward you with a diamond in the rough. And that is what the Flames need, someone to come out of the proverbial woodwork and surprise.

    Jankowski could be that surprise, in about 3 or 4 seasons. And that is the disappointing side of it. But, then again, maybe Brossoit will be such an eye opener from last years draft. And Brodie was taken in the fourth round. So maybe this crew of scouts does have some ability.

    I will wait and measure the Flames draft by seeing who they are able to corral in all seven rounds.

  • 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.

  • Reg Dunlop


    Being ranked 43 is no guarantee the player will be available at 42… this player would still be available after the draft if not for Feaster. It isn’t laughter you hear from up the QE2, it’s shock and disappointment that flame mgmt is so obviously tanking next year for MacKinnon. Well, the oil will give you a real race for the bottom. If Yak rides his stick after a goal against the flames I hope appropriate action is taken.

  • 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.

  • CitizenFlame

    Depending on who they take with the 2nd, I think it weird that player may likely project to be in the NHL sooner than their 1st. Can’t say I love this pick, but I don’t know much about Jankowski. I know that I know a lot less than the Flames scouts about these players. They can make it up to me by picking Frk tomorrow. There is no way that Collberg or Aberg fall to 42nd (then again who saw Jankowski at 21?)I really liked Girgenson… I’m drinking now. Ok, I can’t hide it, I just don’t like this pick at all! Trading down to get two project players instead of getting a bonafide prospect. Its risky all right.