Joe Colborne And Other Mark Jankowski Comparables

When Flames prospect Mark Jankowski was picked in the first round this past June out of Stanstead College, it was difficult to put his results in context. Stanstead has never produced an NHLer before, nor has any team ever picked any one from that system in recent memory. Virgin waters means an uncharted course.

Which also means it’s difficult to know what sort of expectations to have of Jankowski during his freshman season for Providence college this year. Mark has just four points in nine contests through the early going (which translates to an unimpressive NHLE of 15), but given his young age and relative inexperience at high levels of hockey, Jankowski was expected to be more of a project that some other first rounders this year. So what represents a "good" season for Janko in 2012-13?

Jankowski = Colborne?

Obviously every player is a unqiue case, so when engaging in these comparable excercises we’re painting with a rather broad, coarse-bristled brush. With that noted, one potential comparable to consider is former Bruins 16th overall pick Joe Colborne. The 22-year old was chosen in 2008 after tearing up a similarly lower tier of hockey (90 points in 55 games in the AJHL) and then went on to play for the University of Denver in the WCHA. He’s also a similar kind of player – a tall center who isn’t overly physical but is known for things like his vision, hands and overall hockey sense. 

Colborne, now a Leafs prospect, hasn’t made the show for good yet so he doesn’t really offer a peek at what kind of NHLer Jankowski might become. Still, Colborne is a few steps further down the path so he can act as a kind of bellwether which we can use to judge and predict Jankowski during his formative years. 

Colborne’s College and AHL Results

One of the differences between the two players is Colborne was NHL-sized on the day he was drafted. Jankowski, on the other hand, only recently shot up to over six feet tall and will need to add at least 20 pounds to his frame over the next few years to have a chance at a meaningful pro career.

Colborne’s size meant less seasoning in the minor leagues; he played just two seasons of college hockey before turning pro. In his freshman year, Colborne managed 10 goals and 31 points in 40 games for the U of Denver. Assuming an NCAA translation factor of 0.41, that’s an NHL equivalence of about 26 points. In his second season, Colborne placed second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 41 points in 39 games. His NHLE jumped up to 35 points as a result.

Colborne has a single pro year under his belt at this point. Last year with the Marlies he got out to one of the hottest starts in the AHL before a hand injury slowed him mid-season. He finished with 16 goals and 39 points in 65 games (NHLE = 22 points). It’s widely assumed that playing with a broken hand significantly suppressed his output however, so take those results with a grain of salt.

Finding the Range

While no one has ever been drafted out of Stanstead college, it is slightly more common for guys (like Colborne) to be chosen out of 2nd tier leagues like the AJHL, BCHL and OPJHL in Canada. Although we can assume those leagues are at the very least a modest step up from Jankowski’s prep school, they are probably in the ballpark.

Going back the last decade or so, I found 40 comparable forwards (including Colborne) who were drafted out of the AJHL, BCHL or OPJHL and then went on to play college hockey. Here they are with their draft season point-per-game pace, plus their PPG rates two years removed:

Player League draft PPG draft+1 PPG draft+2 PPG
Brady Murray BCHL 1.94 1.24 0.80
Nick Johnson AJHL 1.39 1.00 0.76
Kyle Turris BCHL 2.28 0.97 NA
Riley Nash BCHL 1.53 0.89 0.97
Travis Zajac BCHL 1.90 0.84 1.02
Joe Colborne AJHL 1.64 0.78 1.05
Mike Santorelli BCHL 1.60 0.75 0.83
Andrew Cogliano OPJHL 2.08 0.72 1.32
Mason Raymond AJHL 1.49 0.70 1.18
Tim Crowder BCHL 0.89 0.68 0.61
Byron Bitz BCHL 1.26 0.68 0.52
Zac Dalpe* BCHL 1.37 0.68 1.15
Louie Caporusso OPJHL 1.35 0.64 1.20
Scott McCulloch AJHL 1.11 0.64 0.29
Matt McKnight AJHL 1.33 0.63 0.63
Kaleb Betts BCHL 1.33 0.63 0.50
Brett Heimngway BCHL 1.53 0.56 1.00
Taylor Stefishen BCHL 1.42 0.53 0.48
David Van Der Gulik BCHL 1.79 0.50 0.57
Kris Chucko BCHL 1.64 0.49 0.39
Mike Hamilton BCHL 1.66 0.48 0.47
Mike Sullivan OPJHL 1.24 0.48 0.46
Daultan Leveille GHL 1.24 0.45 0.66
David Mcintyre OPJHL 2.00 0.43 0.82
Tanner Glass BCHL 1.25 0.42 0.45
David Jones BCHL 0.80 0.41 1.03
Corey Trivino OPJHL 1.77 0.41 0.54
Chris Auger OPJHL 1.96 0.35 0.42
Matt Frattin AJHL 1.43 0.35 0.60
Kevin Jarman OPJHL 1.72 0.29 0.57
Andrew Kozek BCHL 1.62 0.28 0.27
Andrew Sarauer BCHL 1.32 0.28 0.29
Ben Winnett BCHL 1.46 0.27 0.34
Brock Hooton BCHL 1.40 0.26 0.44
Raymond Sawada BCHL 1.72 0.26 0.57
Matt Siddall BCHL 1.36 0.24 0.33
Matt Watkins BCHL 1.23 0.20 0.45
Jordan Foote BCHL 0.84 0.17 0.06
Patrick Murphy OPJHL 0.67 0.14 0.23
Peter Leblanc OPJHL 1.05 0.13 0.41

 NHLers with roughly a season or more experience are highlighted

The table is ranked from best-to-worst in terms of draft+1 point-per-game pace, which is where Jankowski is in his career right now. Each guy had moved on to play college at that point and eyeballing things it looks like the translation factor from Canadian tier-2 hockey to college is about 0.4 to 0.5, particularly for the BCHL and AJHL.

(Aside – the OPJHL looks to be significantly weaker. Personally I wouldn’t look at any guy out of there who wasn’t scoring at more than 2 points-per-game in his draft season)

I also included Daultan Leveille because he was picked out of the GHL Niagra by  the Thrashers in 2008. He failed to make any sort of dent in college and is currently in the ECHL. Zac Dalpe is appended with an asterisk because he was an overager the year he was drafted, and therefore a year ahead of his peers on the development curve. His numbers are skewed upwards as a result. Also, notice where Flames bust Kris Chucko falls on the list.


The sample is pretty small, but an apparent pattern does seem to emerge: most future NHLers managed at least a 0.7 PPG in their freshman year in college (assuming Nash and Colborne both make the show), while a majority of the busts were below that particular Mendoza line. There are a few exceptions like Tanner Glass and Byron Bitz, but those guys obviously made the NHL for reasons other than their offense and therefore aren’t really comparable to Jankowski. The big outlier is David Jones, who had underwhleming draft and draft+1 seasons, but then took a giant step forward in year 3.

On the other end is Brady Murray (Andy Murray’s kid), who lit up the BCHL and college right away and then fell off the pace in draft+2 and then fled to the Swiss league for some reason. Nick Johnson is another forward who took modest steps backwards during his college career despite strong draft and draft+1 seasons, but he at least managed to play a full year in the NHL for the Minnesota Wild in 2011-12. Matt Frattin is down the list across the board but still had a cup of coffee with the Leafs. I doubt he becomes anything more than a replacement level 4th liner, however.

A quick look at the list yields these rules of thumb for Jankowski’s expectations: 0.7 PPG or better this year and at least a 1.0 PPG pace next season. That would put him in the company of Zajac, Raymond, Colborne, Cogliano and Turris. As of right now, Janko’s PPG in his draft year is 1.63 and 0.44 in draft+1 year (although he has only played 9 college games so far).

Finally, if as a Flames fan you’re unnerved by the general lack of impact players selected out of second-tier type leagues since 2002 – we’ll, that’s why the selection was such a risky gambit by the organization. Zajac is obviously the cream of the crop here, while Turris might eventually turn out to be worth a damn. Everyone else has thus far proved to be a third liner or below, with the futures of Colborne and Nash yet to be determined (neither is likely to be a high-end first liner, however). Of course, There have a been a few names come out of the highschool system in the States recently (most notably Blake Wheeler) but again the truly big NHL names are rare.

Anyways, the take away is Janko doesn’t have to manage a point-per-game in college right away to be on a NHLers pace, but he should be within the 0.7 range through this season and at (or above) 1.0 next year if he is to become a scorer at the highest level.

  • Interesting stuff, well done.

    I wonder where the USHL would stack up compared to the leagues on that list. Did Gaudreau take a giant step forward from draft yr to draft +1? Or does the USHL better prepare players for college than some of these lower tier Canadian leagues?

    Also worth noting: Jankowski was less than a week away from being drafted this coming June (’13 draft). So, that would put him at a disadvantage in context with some of these names. The same way Dalpe might be an exception in this group, Jankowski would be on the young side of this comparison. So I don’t think it would be a major disappointment if he didn’t reach the 0.7 ppg threshold as a freshman.

    Next thought: I wonder where Jankowski would be projected for this coming draft, had he been born a few days later? Totally irrelevant question, but the fact that he went in the first round as the 2nd youngest player in the draft is a good sign. Scouts do emphasize early vs late birthdays in their analysis of prospects.

    Finally, has anyone watched Jankowski live this year? From some basic twitter banter, it sounds like he’s been getting chances and generating, but not finishing. Anyone have another impression of his play so far?


  • RexLibris

    I was thinking about Jankowski this morning and made a mental note to check up on him in a month’s time when he’s had some more games under his belt.

    The .7 ppg pace is right in the range that I was thinking would be appropriate too. He doesn’t need to dominate the league, but, in my opinion, ought at least to show that he can keep his head above water. Streaks and slumps aside, at year’s end if he shows that he is at least the team’s second-best center then I think Flames fans should accept that as a favourable result. Less and I’d be concerned, more and I might temper expectations until another season has passed.

    Either way, he is going to be one slow-growing prospect to watch.

    It’d be in his best interests if the Flames were playing or making some other noise elsewhere in their organization, to take some attention away from him. Otherwise his next nickname could be “the Watched Pot”.

    • He’s lucky in that he has Gaudreau and Baertschi making a lot of noise ahead of him.

      Still there will always be scrutiny of that pick given how it went down. It’s not fair to the kid, but it’s the reality of the situation.

    • RexLibris

      thing is, he’s been playing as the Friars’ top LW (not center). He’s 2nd on the team in goals, but the bad news is, he’s a playmaker with only 1 assist.

      Still, you’re not going to be putting up a whole heckuva lot of points when your team has been shut-out 2 games in a row.


      Lol at that uninformed stuff. No mention of Gaudreau, really? Great job “expert”.

      for the record, Arnold is only actually 6’0″. He’s just built like an SUV and he’s ridiculously strong.

      Corey Pronman has always been a good one to ask about Brodie. He has said Brodie could be an above-average 2nd pair with top PP ability.

      • I agree about Brodie. Any guy who makes the show as a 21-year old and then carries the mail in the AHL at 22 is probably going to do better than the third pairing. I’ll be stunned if he’s not a second pairing defender by 24 at the latest.

  • RexLibris

    I lied, I’m not done.

    Shane Malloy (author, Art of Scouting) hosted a Podcast on Flames prospects. They spoke with Weisbrod, and discussed Flames prospects with scouts from different regions. There were a few things that struck me in these conversations (paraphrased):

    1) “Roman Horak will likely be a career AHLer because his defensive play and engagement in the play is lacklustre.” From watching him with the big club last year, I can’t help but disagree. He certainly lacks size for the NHL, but his engagement and defensive awareness seems very high to me, especially for a 20-yr old. Further to him being 20: he’s already played 61 games in the NHL and leads the AHL in goals. I have a tough time with the “career AHLer” label.

    2) “TJ Brodie’s upside is a third pairing, 2nd PP D man.” Did they mean upside, or did they mean “the role he played in the NHL last season?” I’m biased of course, but at 22 years old, I’m willing to argue that Brodie could evolve into a #3 or #4 D man. He’s confident with the puck, he can skate like the wind, and his defensive details continue to improve. For me, the only thing holding Brodie back from a top-4 role is size. At 6’2 and 22 years old, I’m confident he can put on 10 lbs and eventually fill that top-4 role.

    3) In almost 45 minutes of Flames Prospect discussion, Gaudreau was not mentioned once. They talked at length about Bill Arnold, but Gaudreau never came up. They spent more time talking about Reinhart’s #3 C upside and Sieloff’s truculence, that they simply forgot about the best player in college hockey? So, of course from their perspective, the Flames have a lot of character but no skill in the prospect ranks. Doesn’t seem like an informed opinion to me.

    4) It almost seemed like, when a player came up, they would google his name and simply regurgitate his point totals. From there, they would make broad comments like “Baertschi is good” and “Arnold is big.”

    Anyway, just interesting to listen to it. It seems like it doesn’t matter what the Flames org does to improve their prospect ranks, they are still painted with the “big players no skill” perspective. Seems uninformed to me, but I’m also a Flames fan. So eff me right?

  • supra steve

    Look at that pic. of Janko, kid had absolutely no shoulders. Praying he has packed on some pounds since then (as I heard he has), and continues to do so. My hopes are HIGH, but I have been Tkaczuked by Flame picks in the past, so wouldn’t be completely shocked if Janko doesn’t set the world aFlame. Good Luck kid.

    • SmellOfVictory

      That was obviously predraft. At the draft he was something like 165, and he has since put on either 10 or 15 lb, last I recall. The comparables make this look somewhat bleak in terms of outlook, but I’m gonna hold out hope that they’d drafted the white whale here.

  • RexLibris

    I’m curious as the the frame of this article. You put a ton of emphasis on the fact that MJ was drafted in the USHL. This forms the basis for the metric of comparison with like cases.

    But isn’t the fact that he was drafted out of the USHL less important to the fact he played there and now plays in the US college system? As such, wouldn’t the best comparisons be not with guys that were drafted similarly, but rather with guys that took a similar route to pro? You mention Wheeler at the end. To me, it would be more apt to find out how many guys have done what Wheeler did and MJ is trying to do. Where do those guys end up is the interesting question, not when did NHL teams think they were worth a pick.

    Regardless, if I’m Feaster, and I see that a guy of mine is comparable to Van Der Gulik or Chucko, I start saving a bigger percentage of my paycheck for “future contingencies” immediately.

    • Janko wasn’t drafted from the USHL. That’s a tier-1 junior league in the States. He was drafted from Stanstead college out of Quebec (The CAHS is the league’s designation). The problem is no one has been drafted out of that league or has therefore taken a similar path to the NHL.

      The only available comparisons are those I note here who came out of second-tier junior in Canada or players who were drafted out of HS in the States. Again, there are very few apt comparables because NHL teams don’t often draft straight from highschool (and when they do, it doesn’t turn out very often).

      For Wheeler, he scored 3.3 points-per-game in HS hockey (!!) and then managed 47 points in 58 games in the USHL the next year. During his draft year, only 4 other Minnesota HS students were drafted to the NHL. Of them, only JY Wyman has seem game action in the NHL, and then only as a replacement level call-up from the AHL.

    • if Jankowski was drafted out of the USHL, there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much controversy about the pick. In fact, there would be practically none. the USHL is a great league, and in recent years, has actually been nearly coming close to approaching the CHL in terms of quality.

  • I looked at Minnesota HS forwards going back to Wheeler (at least for those I could find HS stats for).

    There was only 10. Of the ten, only two made it to the NHL: Wheeler and TJ Oshie. They both scored over 3 points-per-game in their draft seasons in HS. Oshie went on to score at a better than PPG pace right away in college while Wheeler took the long route through the USHL.

    The only other guy even within spitting distance of the show is Vande Velde. He managed 2.23 PPG in HS.

  • Purple Hazze

    Flames get a lot of heat for this pick, I don’t really see why. It seems at that 14th spot if we had held it the consensus pick was Girgensons it should be him that we should compare Jankowski too in the coming years.

    Personally I think Girgensons will amount to nothing more than a 3rd liner at best and as long as Jankow turns out better than him we made the smarter move.

    Name me one notable nhl’er of impact that was drafted in the 14th spot in the last 10 years? I don’t really see anybody … so why not take a flyer on a kid that shows the potential to be great.

    • Chris Higgins, Brent Seabrook, Alex Radulov (15th), Michael Grabner, Kevin Shattenkirk, Erik Karlsson (15th), Dmitry Kulikov were all taken within range of 14 in the last 10 years.

      I don’t think the pick can be judged at all yet, but there’s no doubting it was something of a long bomb choice.

    • T&A4Flames

      Actually, I think if only one of Janko or Sieloff make to the NHL in a significant role, the move as a whole can be looked at as a success (trading down to aquire a 2nd rounder). I think that is what they were trying to do, have more chances to hit on a draft pick.

      The only guy that I’m worried about that we passed on is Ceci. That said, it’s a long road and either of Janko or Sieloff and possibly both could surpass him as a prospect.

      • SmellOfVictory

        I don’t necessarily agree with that. Based on the projections for Girgenson, Teravainen and Ceci, I think Janko needs to end up as a top 6 guy to be considered a really successful pick (I’m operating under the assumption that the other guys don’t bust).

          • RexLibris

            I think everybody here knows that I’ve been a hard marker of Feaster and Weisbrod and was definitely not bullish on the move down.

            However, I’d be cutting them more slack than saying that if only one becomes better it is a fail.

            If Jankowski can’t make it higher than Vande Velde’s likely ceiling (he’ll most likely replace Belanger as a 4th line center, 2nd unit PK) or gets paced by two or more of the players taken later in the first round who have a similar skill set, then I’d consider it a bust.

            For instance, if Samuelsson, Teravainen and Girgensons (or Faksa, for that matter) all manage to surpass Jankowski in the span of eight years, then I think we can close the book on that decision.

            Its too bad in some ways, I feel sorry for him on account of the amount of attention being put on him through the bluster of his GM.

    • RexLibris

      20 games, 6 points (3-3 split), 31 penalty minutes and -2.

      I know he’s kind of a kamikaze out there, but I’ll be interested to see if he can improve his defensive game while staying out of the penalty box.

      I know the OHL can be whistle-happy when it comes to hits sometimes, at least in comparison to the WHL, but I’m unconvinced of the value of a defenceman who spends almost 2 minutes per game in the penalty box.

      • RexLibris

        Pat’s always been highly talented at racking up PIMs.

        Interesting to note, though, he’s pretty much been Windsor’s best dman so far (when he’s been on the ice). He’s 2nd in scoring (!!) behind Ebert (tied with Devlin, though) and 1st in goals by a dman. And offense is the weakest part of his game.

  • in ten years when the draft shakes itself out, we will be able to fully judge feasters game of russian roulette. personally, if janko is a bust i won’t be shocked. as for bud seiloff, lets hope he can stay healthy.