Mark Jankowski Goes to College



In a move that’s only surprising in how long it took, Flames first round pick Mark Jankowski has announced he’ll be attending Providence College right away instead of joining the Dubuque Fighting Saints for a year.

From Vicki Hall’s article in the Calgary Herald

“I think this is the right way for me to go,” Jankowski said Monday afternoon from his off-season home in Hamilton, Ont. “I believe I’m ready for the jump"

While it seems like this was mostly Jankowski’s choice, it’s hard to imagine the Flames are particularly upset by it. Any first round choice should be good enough to be playing competition harder than that of the USHL. When given how good he looked at development camp against older players with more experience, the NCAA level seems much more appropriate. He’ll also probably the most skilled player on the Friars, which means prime ice time and power play experience.

The Providence Friars might be a far cry from Johnny Gaudreau’s and Bill Arnold’s Boston College Eagles, but that’s not to say he’s still basically playing in the USHL. Despite a low quality of teammates (only two players on the Friars last year have been drafted) he’ll be playing against top competition in one of the best NCAA hockey conferences- Hockey East. This means games against Boston College, Boston University, UNH, Northeastern, and the University of Vermont— among others.

In addition to giving Jankowski a better setting for development, this move will give the organization and the fans a better context in which to judge him- especially with two other prospects in the exact same conference. 

Only time will tell with Mark Jankowski, but this move to the NCAA instead of the USHL gives hope that he might not have been as much of a reach as most fans initially assumed. 

  • Most high-end college prospects take things a year at a time, particularly with the potential NHL pay-day dangling in front of them.

    Gaudreau was originally set to stay in the NCAA for four years, now he’s probably looking at one more.

    Jankowski probably is approaching things the same way.

    FYI: Flames prospects have been on the Hockey East All-Rookie team in each of the past two years (Bill Arnold in 2010-11, Gaudreau in 2011-12).

  • supra steve


    I hear what you’re saying but, I’m gonna go with the Flame’s scouts take on Jankowski. The draft is a great big crap shoot and no player is a sure thing–not Girgensons, not Teravainen, not Jankowski. Obviously, Flames scouts saw him as their best option in the long term with the pick they had, plus they picked up that 2nd rounder at (apparently) no cost. Well done in my opinion

    I have low hopes for the upcoming season (as I think do a lot of FN readers), so I’m fine if Janko takes 3 or 4 years to develope. The rebuild is gonna take at least that long. Hey, if things go really well I can see him as NHL ready after 2 seasons in Providence.

    Everything considered, I like what Feaster/JW/Button/etc. have done at the draft over the last 2 years. In 5 years I may be singing a different tune, but today am content.

  • McRib

    Oh, I get the argument, but lets not forget that Janko was also a consensus 2nd rounder. Not that he won’t exceed that, just saying that a guy Teravainen was called the next Selanne ans is only a year or 2 away vs. 3-5 years (depending on whose opinion you read).

    Like the player actually, but I wouldn’t call him a slam dunk quite yet.

  • SmellOfVictory

    @the-wolf: The thing with the Flames is they have tons of mid-range prospects at forward; they need high end ones, and where they were in the 2012 draft, there wasn’t much of that in terms of guys who were nearly NHL-ready. Girgensons isn’t projected to be anything beyond a 2nd line C (at best), and Teravainen (sp) is considered a significantly risky pick for different reasons (physical ability in the NHL). In terms of the opportunity to grab top-end talent, Janko was about it; high risk, but given the scouting on him, potentially very high reward.

  • T&A4Flames


    I ranked Jankowski 5th (with potential to move sharply in either direction)–sandwiched between Gaudreau and Arnold FYI–when I did an updated list shortly after the draft.

    if Janko does end up being Providence’s 1st line center (that would put him on a line with Schaller, wouldn’t it?) and Gillies nails the #1 goalie position, that would be cool. I think in that case, we should consider the season a success if the Friars finish with a winning record. That conference is brutal.

    Flames’ college contingent is looking great these days. Ramage, Arnold, Gaudreau, Gillies, Jankowski. Oh yeah, DeBlouw too.

  • T&A4Flames

    a THE WOLF

    “Calgary took a big gamble by passing on a guy Girgensons (who went at their original draft spot #14) and Teravainen.”

    I’m ok with the choice to pass on Girg. and pick up a 2nd and then draft Janko. Girg was the safe pick that could make the NHL as a 2nd liner. Janko is a bigger risk, yes, but his ceiling is much higher, 1st line potential. CGY has enough 2nd line potential guys with Backs, Horak, Reinhart etc. We need a guy with that potential 1st line offensive skill. I think Janko showed at camp he has that.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Calgary took a big gamble by passing on a guy Girgensons (who went at their original draft spot #14) and Teravainen.

    Only time will tell, enough time that Feaster may not even be here by then.

    It’s not Jankowski being chosen that bugs me so much as the fact that a lot of other players are far closer to stepping in.

    It’s like Calgary selected Jankowski with the belief that their team is already stocked full of top young talent and so there’s no hurry on this guy.

    Makes sense if you were Edmonton picking at 21, not so much Calgary.

    Plus, I’m always wary of players selcted based on just a few viewings. Most players are heavily scouted for 1-2 years now.

    Still, a lot of people say he did great at development camp, so hopefully his ‘curve’ keeps trending upwards exponentially.

    • RexLibris

      I tend to be in agreement with you (sorry for that), about Feaster and Weisbrod’s decision to gamble at that point in the draft.

      My points have been made on this forum before, so I won’t repeat them. But your assessment that the Flames don’t really appear to have the organizational depth to afford missing on Jankowski is pretty much in line with my perspective on it.

      I use the metaphor that Feaster and Weisbrod hit the blackjack table with their rent money. The system needs solid, dependable prospects. The high-risk, high-reward players are nice to have, but ought only be taken when a team can afford the worst-case scenario coming to pass. The Flames can’t. The fact that Feaster traded down only to regain his own 2nd round draft pick only adds emphasis to his earlier mistake.

      The Flames scouting staff soiled the sheets in the 2006 draft and the gap that it and the follow-up drafts created in the prospect pool are, in my opinion, what lead to Darryl Sutter’s being removed from his position.

      If Jankowski ends up somewhere in the Mikael Backlund to Greg Nemisz range of NHL success (not ability, his skill set is very different), I would argue that the gamble had failed.

      Like I said at the time, it isn’t the pick or the player with which I take issue. It is the timing for an organization like the Flames and their prospect situation that makes me think it was a very poor decision in the long run. In my view, it speaks to a greater issue of failure to adequately evaluate the health of the franchise.

    • beloch

      Calgary has one prospect, Baertschi, with clear top 3 potential. After that there are a lot of 2nd liners and support players, with the possible exception of gambles like Gaudreau. Feaster needed to address the fact that the Flames just don’t have much elite talent in their system. In order to get elite prospects with mediocre picks Feaster had no choice but to gamble. Girgensons might have been a safer bet with a shorter development curve than Jankowski, but he doesn’t have nearly as much offensive potential.

      After years of Dutter robbing the cupboard for one more shot at 8th it’s nice to see Feaster make picks that prioritize long-term upside over what the team needs right now. If the Flames can keep doing that we might one day have a prospect system that yields elite NHL’ers on a semi-regular basis.

  • Austin L

    I’m glad Jankowski is skipping the USHL, that pretty much trims off one more year that we’d have to wait to see him in a Flames jersey. Can Jankowski still attend Flames training camp in the fall? And play a few preseason games? Or does the NCAA schedule interfere with that?

  • T&A4Flames

    Where does Jankowski rank in our prospect list. Last year after the draft, Baertschi went stright to #1. I suspect he will retain that rank but Janko must be considered at least top 5, wouldn’t he?

  • Colin.S


    We don’t need to sign him at all, we have his rights till he leaves College, unless the CBA is changed it would be the same as Schultz, once Jankowski is done his 4 years in school or whatever he would be a UFA 2 weeks after his classes end. However during that entire time we retain his rights. We CAN’T sign him or he loses “amatuer” status per NCAA Regulations.

  • Bean-counting cowboy


    My take on your concerns – Jankowski was one of the youngest picks in the draft, a couple of days away from not being eligible until next year. I think it’s mostly a matter of making sure he’s both physically and mentally mature enough to compete against others who are significantly older and bigger. Others please correct me if I’m wrong, but a year ago I don’t think he was even considered a prospect. He’s higher risk, higher reward because we got a chance to draft him young.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Does anyone know – I assume the rules are the same for when you have to sign an entry level deal for a college prospect as compared to a CHL prospect? Same time frame?

    When do we need to sign Jankowski by?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @ smtorsch

    It was risky. High risk high reward type pick.

    IMO he was playing in that obscure league because when he started playing he was 5’8 skin & bones & was younger. He rose swiftly up the draft rankings because of his huge 6″ growth spurt & young age. A few days younger and he may have been a top 10 pick at next year’s draft.

    I like the ballsy move by Feaster. Especially seeing now how he played at development camp.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about Jankowski’s decision lately, but I remain confused by a few things.

    First, I get that Jankowski was playing in an obscure league that made his selection in the first round seem a bit odd. Why was he planning to go to the USHL in the first place? Because college hockey was going to be too big a step from where he was playing before? And how does the USHL compare with CHL hockey? Is it tougher? Easier? About the same? There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to consider all of these leagues in context. Maybe NHLE?

    Second, the Flames used a first round pick on a guy that, at the time, might not have been ready for US college hockey? Like, holding aside for a moment the fact that he wasn’t ready to be a dominant force on a top-flight US college team, he wasn’t even ready to play for a middling team at all? And Feaster used a first round pick on a guy like that? Nothing against Jankowski (it’s not like he asked for all the pressure and expectations that go along with being a first round pick for a Canadian NHL team), but shouldn’t we be a lot more concerned about this?

  • Colin.S

    I was really hoping to hear that he would go the NCAA route. I really think a year in the USHL would have been a wasted one. Could be an exciting year in prospect development as Gaudreau gets a chance to take on more of the offensive burden at BC, Granlund gets a chance to show what he can do without his brother, Max Power shows he can continue to produce and be a leader as a pro, Michael Ferland gets a chance to show he can fight and score at the pro level, hopefully Brossoit gets a chance to redeem himself at the Memorial cup. And we’ll see what the 2012 crop of defensemen can do. That’s where we could really use a pleasant surprise.

  • Colin.S

    Very good move for him, especially after how well he did at Development camp. He was easily one of the top 5 players at Dev Camp, so the fact he would be in one of the weaker leagues just didn’t seem right.

    He should easily be getting top 6 ice time if not top 3, I’m guessing that factored into his decision as well.