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. 

  • RexLibris

    @RexLibris

    actually, the pick the Flames got in that trade was technically buffalo’s (43rd). The Flames’ was 45th.

    I don’t think we have to worry about Jankowski being a mediocre player. IMO he’ll either be a complete bust or a #1 center. it’s the way his flaws work out; his skillset is fine in all categories, but he’s weak and has never played at a decent level. If he doesn’t reach his potential, it’s either because he continues to be weak, or because he just can’t process the game at higher pace–in both cases, resulting in a non-NHL career and a bust of a pick. If neither of those things is an issue, then he reaches his potential and becomes a 1st line player. just my read on the situation.

  • RexLibris

    @RexLibris

    Can’t disagree with this comment more. First of all, I don’t think giving up the second round pick was a ‘mistake’. That was what it took to get Mike Cammalleri, and more importantly to get rid of Rene Bourque. To be able to get that pick back and still have the first round pick you wanted is very sound asset management.

    Secondly, I resoundingly disagree that the Flames are at a point where they can’t afford to take chances. I don’t think there are very many safe choices. Unless you’re going to try for top 5 picks, which they’ve made clear they’re not. I think all good organizations take chances, otherwise you’re guaranteeing continual mediocrity.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ RexLibris

    “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.”

    I don’t agree Rex. I think it is the exact opposite. All I ever hear from the EDM fan base that likes to chime in is that CGY is stuck in mediocrity. If they keep drafting mediocre players with mediocre upside, how will they ever get out of it? They went off the board and went for a guy with a high reward capability. If he fails, I don’t think we are off much worse than we may already have been. If he does pan out, we have a HUGE piece to help move us back to the top. Just my opinion.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @ Rex

    How else is Calgary to land a true top line center when we always pick mid draft, but to take a gamble?

    How many years has Iggy played here without one?

    How many trades have we seen where a team lands a top line center? How many of those players would have waived to go to Calgary?

    How many UFA top line centers would choose to sign in Calgary?

    Which tree have I not heard of that these centers are growing on?

    How many players does Calgary have that could potentially fit the bill for #2 line center?

    I respect your opinion, but it’s a bit easier to say not to gamble if you’re an Oilers fan and have a can’t miss top pick 3 years in a row. When you have to pick 12th to 14th every year I think you have to be a bit more creative than the sure pick.

    They could have easily gone with the safe pick in the draft. If it didn’t work out, no one would have blasted them as it was the consensus “best player available”. They knew they would get roasted for that gutsy decision, but still stuck to their guns. Impressive considering the typical lifespan of an NHL GM.

  • supra steve

    Rex

    I respect your opinion, and am sure it is well thought out but, I don’t agree. Since when is taking the best player available (as determined by your staff) a bad move for the Flames, or Oil, or any organization? In the Sutter era, we have been told that Darryl had major input into who the team selected (especially in round one)–that generally didn’t work out for the best. He also tended to trade away the 2nd round pick. I assume that left the 3rd round and later picks as the time when Button and staff got to take “their” picks (eg. Reinhart, and yes, a bunch of turds too).

    The “new” approach seems to have worked well in the 2011 draft, though time is the ultimate decider. I am happy with the Janko selection and very happy that Sieloff was also added due to their best (correct) guess that they could still get their man at #21 overall.

    I have seen way too many players who were highly rated by central scouting (Dan Tkaczuk & Radek Bonk as but a few examples) that really never “paid out”, to be upset that we passed on a small Fin (that 17 other clubs passed on) or a big Latvian (who’s central scouting ranking actually dropped from mid-term ratings).

    Janko was central scouting’s 43rd ranked NA skater at the draft, having climbed from 74th at mid-term on a team that got little attention. That is something to pay attention to, add to it his size (or at least his potential size as he fills out), his position, his age, his bloodlines. All good stuff.

    Put a more NHL ready prospect (Girgensons) in the lineup (this year or next) of a bad team and you still have a bad team. I’m gonna end this, don’t want to steal your long post crown.

  • Colin.S

    @Rex, it’s easy for the Oilers to take the BPA and immediately insert him into the NHL and run with it when you are always picking #1 overall. Where Calgary always pick, that just isn’t feasible, if they want to add true skill and impact to their line-up they have to take a gamble pick every now and then. Girgensons, has good potential, but that potential isn’t very high at all, most figure he’ll top out at 2nd liner at best, and in some cases thats not a bad thing to help take pressure off a top line.

    However what the flames need is top line skill, not more depth players. And yes they can wait a few years for that. Especially because they have control of Jankowski through all of his college career. If the Flames crash and burn with the current line up, we could be looking at some top tier picks, and if we combine those with a potential #1 overall center we could be setting ourselves up for a much shorter rebuild if that truly comes to pass.

    • RexLibris

      When I comment on the Flames drafting it is never in comparison to the position that the Oilers are in. While I am an Oilers fan, I try to take that hat off to some extent when I write here. Sorry if that doesn’t always come through.

      That being said, you make a very good argument and from that perspective I could agree with the overall strategy.

      I still have reservations about Feaster trading away picks in the middle of the season only to try and acquire replacement picks on the draft floor, where the price usually goes up. That type of behaviour is generally a sign of someone too brash or arrogant to admit an error, but who instead costs their organization more in the long run in order to correct a mistake to which they have no intention of admitting.

      Your point that Jankowski might be a prospect put on layaway while the team eventually falls apart and drafts in the top five, setting up a sort of synergizing of prospect development, is intriguing. It kind of raises questions about the faith fans ultimately have in this management group.

  • RexLibris

    Hmmm, so I’m not going to get a lot of christmas cards from the 403 region? πŸ˜‰

    First let me be very clear here, I’m not panning Jankowski as a bust. I wouldn’t even rate the draft for many of the teams this early (Montreal being an exception).

    My criticism is aimed at how the Flames management have assessed the team and it’s relative strengths and weaknesses.

    I’ll respond to a few of the points made above:

    The second round pick Feaster acquired was actually Buffalo’s, good point, but it was acquired to make up for the Kotalik trade, not the Cammalleri one. That 2nd round pick is in 2013.

    Trading for a top-line center is tough. Feaster might have been able to land one in Jeff Carter earlier this year, likely without having to trade away Sven Baertschi. Signing one through free agency is virtually impossible.

    So I agree, draft one by all means.

    However, to go back to my first point about forecasting players a month after they were drafted, banking on Jankowski as the future 1st line center is not a good idea. Trust me on this, I’ve been there. Watch him, cheer for him, cheer like heck for him, but allow some space for him to be able to disappoint you without the world crashing down.

    If Oil fans like to tell Flames fans about being stuck in mediocrity its because we spent a long time there. We know all the potholes and all the best bars. My comments aren’t meant as pot shots or easy jabs at an organization trying to find it’s feet again, but from someone who watched intently, and tried to support every decision, as their home team fumbled around the NHL for almost a decade before the bottom finally fell out.

    Thanks for the feedback though. I enjoy the conversations. Also, I think the-wolf is safely off the hook now. πŸ˜‰

    • BurningSensation

      I disagree with you in general Rex, but in particular the ‘2nd rnd pick is to make up for…X’ makes me crazy.

      When evaluating the Jankowski selection it should be viewed for the transaction itself (Janko+Sielof for Girgensons)’, and not include ‘to replace pick lost for Kotalik’

      Whatever your opinion on the Regehr’s deal (I call it a slight win), Kotalik is a part of it and not the Jankowski selection.

  • RexLibris

    @ Rex & Wolf: I hear you guys, was my first thought after the draft, in fact I was a little choked. But, they are the guys driving the boat and decided to take this scenic view. Thing is, in 2 years time, there is a very good possibility Kipper & Iggy are moved on & we will be hitting the pithole whether we took Girgensons or Tervanian or not. What we need to do is give Feaster & Wisebrod the benefit of the doubt that had they not calculated the gamble with Mark, he was their guy right from the get go, they would have probably traded this 1st rounder for either an almost ready prospect & a 2nd or one of our roster players & and our first for a 2013 1st. That would have had a few heads shake as well. This team is going to have to do the long rebuild as they are not willing to fast track with Kipper/Iggy trades, is what it is, so I do understand the rationale of this pick. If it doesnt pan out, I think we are heading for some pretty tough years coming up anyway.

  • Craig

    Its funny to see the ebb and flow of comments about Jankowski, If he didn’t perform the way he did in camp there would be a lot more people criticizing the pick. I’m glad he’s going to college, and even if he struggles in his first year I’m going to reserve judgement to see how he fully develops. Let’s hope he bulks up a lot this coming year and starts ripping it up.

  • Craig

    @RexLibris

    “The second round pick Feaster acquired was actually Buffalo’s, good point, but it was acquired to make up for the Kotalik trade, not the Cammalleri one. That 2nd round pick is in 2013.”

    Ok, fair enough, my mistake. I still don’t think you can call it a mistake. There needed to be a change of direction, salary had to be unloaded, I don’t claim to know what it takes to get deals done, but I’d rather have be moving in the new direction than not. I don’t think you can call doing what it takes to clean up a complete mess a mistake.

    • Craig

      thing is, though, if Feaster hadn’t included Kotalik in the Regehr trade, he could likely have gotten the same return without moving the 2nd rounder. And Kotalik left for the Czech league anyway.

      but yeah, Feaster hasn’t mortgaged anything in regaining those 2nd round picks. The 2 2011 picks were acquired in a trade he was forced into–a trade that also brought Roman Horak to the Flames, whereas Erixon has since moved on to Columbus. The 2012 2nd rounder was recouped in a trade down, in which the Flames ended up drafting the same player they would have taken at 14th. I too disagree with Rex that Feaster has been irresponsible in doing this… at least so far. We’ll see. There’s still the 2013 2nd rounder, after all, and he has yet to decisively win OR lose a major trade.

      • smith

        Yeah? Like I said I have no idea what happens in discussions between general managers, but I find it difficult to believe that the deal was all done, and Feaster said wait a minute, I really want to unload a first round pick too. No, no we can’t take a first how ’bout a third? Well, okay take our second, please. Obviously no one wanted Kotalik (why would you), so I still think he made a the best deal he could to get rid of a lot of salary, get some decent return (Butler anyway, not sure about Byron). I stand by his moves, can’t say I disagree with any of them to this point.

  • smith

    Safe picks seem to be closely related to bad picks. 1 Guadrea(successfull) is worth 20 Neimtz, Pelech’s, Chucko’s. Any pick after the first couple is risky. Eberle was a risky pick as was Getzlaf(laziness questions?) Giroux(size) etc.

    We have(probably) some second line players but need 1st liners. Taking some risks is needed.

  • Just to chime back in here, my comments weren’t intended to be a direct comparison of Janko vs players X or a knock on Janko. The players I used were just convenient examples.

    I used Girgensons because a lot of people on here were very high on him pre-draft (where they’ve suddenly gone to, I don’t know) and only 1 guy on here ever mentioned Janko.

    My point was merely in regards to timeline/development curve and that with the lack of top prospects in Calgary’s system and the fact that consensus top guys were available that have a shorter projected development time….

    Also, consensus top prospects fall every year and then some team picking later gets a steal. Happens every year, so knocking a guy for free-falling a little on draft day is a poor way to evaluate a talent.

  • RexLibris

    @the-wolf

    The first time I read Jankowski’s name on FN was in a conversation I was having with ColinS about potential Flames targets. I can’t remember who brought him up (it doesn’t really matter), and perhaps somebody else mentioned him earlier in another thread.

    ColinS and I were discussing potential targets at #14 and bandying around names like Girgensons, Gaunce, Maatta, Trouba, and so on. I felt that of those three in particular, Gaunce was the one most likely to still be available at #14. Then eventually we turned to Jankowski as a player that Feaster and Weisbrod would probably be interested in, but it was in the context of trading down and using a 2nd round pick on him, not as a first rounder (if I recall corrrectly).

    Anyway, shall we start the clock ticking on the comparison between Jankowski and Teravainen/Girgensons? πŸ˜‰

  • RexLibris

    @Rex – like I said, just a convenient example, though admittedly I was one of the people who mentioned him as a possible target at 14.

    What’s ironic is that Calgary moved that 14th pick to Buffalo and then Buffalo subsequently took Giregensons at 14.

    So, perhaps there is no way around it. As you said, start the clock.

  • BurningSensation

    @ BurningSensation

    “When evaluating the Jankowski selection it should be viewed for the transaction itself (Janko+Sielof for Girgensons)’, and not include ‘to replace pick lost for Kotalik'”

    This makes a lot of sense on one hand, but not so much on the other. This was a trade of picks, not players. Who knows who Buffalo would’ve taken in the 2nd round and which player Calgary might have possibly lost out on by trading down?

    In other words, Calgary didn’t necessarily pass on Girgensons (though because that’s who Buffalo took there it will bear watching), but rather the 7 players (Girgensons being one of them) taken from the 14th to 20th spots.

    If Teravainen turns into a superstar, for example, Calgary will be criticized for not taking Teravainen, not for not taking Giregensons.

    Not saying that’s what will happen, just the way the trade should be viewed.

    • BurningSensation

      Actually you ate missing the point I was trying to make, not that it is Janko+2nd vs Janko+Sielof, but rather the whole ‘Feaster only made the trade to get a 2nd rnd pick to make up for the trading away of a 2nd in the Kotalik deal’.

      Feaster gained a 2nd rnd pick (Sielof) in the Janko swap of picks. Downgrading that acquisition by sneering about the Kotalik deal is what I object to.

  • supra steve

    More simply stated, the Flames could have had:

    A) Jankowsky at #14

    OR

    B) Jankowsky at #21 AND Sieloff at #42.

    Given that Janko was their guy, trading down and still getting him at 21 as well as another strong prospect is a HUGE win.

    Did Feaster screw the pooch in the exchange of our 2nd rounder with Kotalik? Perhaps. Not sure what was involved in convincing Kotalik to cross the ocean, probably a cash payout? In that case Flame ownership may have determined that that dollar amount was worth more to them then a 2012 2nd rounder? What is the cash value of a mid 2nd rounder?

  • BurningSensation

    does anyone think it’s possible Jankowski has an outside shot at the world junior squad? I know Canada’s generally pretty deep at center, but that should probably be a short-term goal for Mark anyway.

    • RexLibris

      It probably is a goal of his, but to be honest I’d be absolutely shocked if he made it. He’s young, inexperienced, and lanky. When you consider that the U-20 team (Prendergast again, ugh) tends to lean towards larger players closer to 19 for those positions, and has a general predisposition to select from the CHL, I think its a long shot.

      He ought to get an invite, and if he does I suspect the fine folks at FN will try to bribe someone to get some eyes on him at the camp and file a report.

      However, when you look at previous players that were left off, Seguin and Nugent-Hopkins to name two, I wouldn’t count on his making it. If he does, all the more power to him, and it would certainly be a make-or-break moment for many analysts.

  • RexLibris

    I’m kind of surprised no one has mentioned it sooner, but is it just me or does he look like he is flashing gang signs in that photo? (yeah, I know, he’s taping up a stick).

    Maybe Jankowski needs a nickname to give him some FlamesNation street cred? I hear “Snoop Dogg” has been recently made available?