Mark Jankowski had what could be called a middling freshman year in Providence in terms of production with just seven goals and 18 points in 34 games. I decided to take an in-depth look into his scoring last year to add some context to his counting numbers and to also get an idea about what we should expect from him next year.
How about we run through his scoring stats and see if there’s anything we can find out, shall we?
G/A/PPG: Goals, Assists and Points-Per-Game
Jankowski got a fair amount of playing time on the PP and was on the team’s top-2 lines the entire year. Providence was a low scoring team, yes, but Jankowski was given very favourable circumstances. I feel as though this is below-average for guys who are supposed to be high-end prospects. 11 of the 12 assists on his goals were by different players, with Tim Schaller being the only one to appear more than once. Of his assists on others goals, he assisted on 3 of Derek Army’s 13 goals, 2 of Ross Mauermann’s 12 goals, 2 of Nick Saracino’s 11 goals, 2 of Stefan Demopoulos’ 8 goals and 2 of Kevin Hart’s 3 goals. The spread of his points among different players suggests he wasn’t being carried by anyone but likewise he wasn’t carrying anyone. His PPG gives us an NHLE of 17.8.
TS%: Team Scoring Percentage
In the CHL, we’d like this number to be 35% or above for anyone who is expected to be a scorer at the next level. The NCAA is a tougher league and based on the age structure of the league we can lower that number a little. I’d say 25% is the minimum for top-end players in their freshman season (about 10 goals difference between the two when applied to Providence’s scoring) when taking into account where a freshman generally plays.
Unfortunately, Jankowski comes in under that 25% threshold (18.9%). In real terms, that’s about 7 more points we would’ve liked to have seen from Jankowski, whether they be bar-down snipes from the slot or assists coming off of pucks bouncing off his inner thigh (actually, snipes would be preferred).
PPP%: Power Play Points Percentage
The Friars scored 23 goals on the PP last year, and Jankowski contributed to 5 of those (1G, 4A). That’s an okay number, but Jankowski didn’t score enough to make it statistically significant. Still, it’s a positive that he wasn’t overly reliant on the man advantage to put up points. If he can increase his scoring next season by a measurable amount and still keep this percentage low it’s a good sign.
PA%: Primary Assist Percentage
Jankowski only had 11 assists this year, but the fact that 6 of those were secondary assists suggests he was a bit of a passenger on scoring plays (that or guys weren’t burying his feeds). I’m not putting too much stock into this, however – the difference between him being above 55% (which I consider to be the threshold for a good player) and where he’s at was one assist. If this trend continues into next year, though, then we have reason to be concerned.
ShPG/S%: Shots Per Game and Shooting Percentage
For me, these are the most worrying stats. Jankowski shot 11.5% last year, which is considered to be average to slightly above average at the NHL level, so it’s reasonable to assume at the NCAA level it’s around the average shooting percentage. We know that shooting percentage, at least in the NHL, doesn’t tend to rise by meaningful amounts over the course of a player’s career (unless his circumstances drastically change) – in fact, it actually drops. That said, we need several thousand shots to get a true idea of a skater’s true talent level in the show.
However, even if we throw out every other statistic because of the small sample size, the fact is he isn’t producing shots at a meaningful rate (1.8/game) and without sky-high luck he won’t improve his goal and point totals if he does not improve. For comparison, Johnny Gaudreau, who by all accounts should have had a tougher time adjusting to the NCAA than Jankowski given his size, averaged 2.8 shots per game in his freshman year at a similar age. In his sophomore season this year, Gaudreau hovered ar four shots per game.
For Jankowski, a one shot per game improvement or better is in order.
I’m willing to give Jankowski a little bit of a break here as most guys who just turned 18 aren’t playing at the NCAA level and the Friars were a low scoring team.
In saying that, though, Jankowski is big enough that playing in the NCAA shouldn’t have been that big of a jump if his perceived skill level is what it is. The bad news is, his stats are below-average almost across the board. If you recall Kent’s comparables article from last summer, he showed pretty much every current NHLer who rose through a tier-2 league and then college ranks scored at least at a 0.70 point-per-game pace in their freshman college season. Janko came in at 0.53. That is David Van Der Gulik (0.50) and Kris Chucko (0.49) territory.
Taken all together, it’s obvious the former first rounder didn’t really clear any of the quantitative bars we set as markers for future NHLers, to say nothing of future NHL scorers. These sorts of yardsticks aren’t unerring signs of doom, but they certainly suggest the kid is a bit behind the curve currently.
I understand Jankowski was a project when drafted, but that shouldn’t preclude him from showing meaningful improvement year-over-year. In order to get where he needs to be, I’d like to see his shot totals jump to somewhere around 3 shots per game at the very least. Ideally, Janko will get up to at least .75 PPG as well, if not 1.0+. If he’s going to produce at the NHL level, he needs to be a notable scorer in college first.
The good news for Jankowski is he is relaatively young and he has an undeniable package of skills. The results weren’t there for him in his draft+1 season, but he still has time and opportunity to put things together and become a noteworthy prospect. If he takes a big step forward for Providence this year, it will be wasy to put his underwhelming rookie season in the rear view mirror.