Development Camp 2013: Mark Jankowski


PC #10 Mark Jankowski and BU #12 Yasin Cissé
– pic via D. Mahoney


A year ago, Mark Jankowski entered Calgary Flames development camp as an enigma. Who was this lanky kid and how was he going to turn into Joe Nieuwendyk and save the franchise? A year later, Jankowski is no longer quite as lanky and is slightly less of a kid after a year in college. He’s also filled out a bit and he’s celebrated his 18th birthday – and is closing in on his 19th birthday in mid-September. When speaking to the assembled media during development camp, he noted he felt much more comfortable there this time around.

“Over the school year I’ve gotten a little bigger, a little stronger, and I feel a lot more comfortable here the second time around,” Jankowski said, noting he’s grown a fair bit from last year. “I’m about six-three and a half right now and weighed in 185, which they said was 14 pounds heavier than last year’s camp, so it’s a big improvement.”

Now heading into his second season with the NCAA’s Providence College Friars, Jankowski is a key piece of the Friars team that shocked many when it made the Hockey East playoffs despite having a very young team with only a few NHL prospects. He admits that the leap from Quebec prep school hockey to the NCAA’s deep waters was pretty steep.

“It was definitely a huge jump from where I was, and I think over the course of the year I adjusted, and I think I played my best hockey at the end of the year, which was good for me. I’ll just improve and jump in next year,” said Jankowski.

By his own admission, Jankowski didn’t play a lot of his natural position, center, for Providence. He feels that being able to learn all three forward positions early on will be beneficial to him in the long run.

“I played mostly wing. Just my first year in college, my coach wanted me to get accustomed to the game because it was a big jump, and there’s a little bit less responsibility defensively on the wing. The game-plan is definitely to be center next year, though,” said Jankowski.

The Ontario native’s summer is far from over. While he also has a school year to prepare for, he’s headed to Hockey Canada’s U20 summer development camp as a late invite – after it became apparent that a few invitees wouldn’t be able to play in the exhibition games at Lake Placid. He’ll be joined at the camp by fellow Flames draftees Sean Monahan and Emile Poirier, with the possibility that all three of them could be suiting up for Team Canada at the World Juniors in Malmo, Sweden over the Christmas holidays.

Flames Development Camp Profiles

  • NHL93

    I hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Chad Kilger: looks good in a uniform and does little else.

    Considering all the pressure on this kid, I thought he looked okay at the development camp. He’s still so young. A good sophomore year is what he needs.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Oh good more Janko discussion.

    I said it before, but here we go again Janko is closer to a first round bust than ” the best player aviailable in the 2012 draft”. He must make the first of a series of big jumps going forward. Notwithstanding the fact that he is an mid 1st round overall pick, I will judge him solely on his performance and results. He’s still young, he’s still growing and working around the normal issues of a guy growing into a new body. I expect he’ll be better this year, I just hope he’s significantly better.

    For the record, Jay Feaster’s big mouth is what’s really driving the debate here. He could have simply stated that Jankowski’s was a project, that had the potential of big rewards. Instead, he put this player in a very unenviable situation.

    • That’s true CA, although the gamble of moving down in the draft and then picking Janko is what drives the issue for me personally. I immediately discounted any talk of him being “the best player from this draft in 10 years”.

      If both Janko and Sieloff (who was picked with the additional 2nd rounder garnered by moving down) both become useful NHLers, it will be considered a winning bet down the road, even if Jankowski isn’t the Nieuwendyk doppelganger we were promised.

      • supra steve

        But really, that “gamble of moving down in the draft and then picking Janko” is only an issue if you assume that there was another name available ABOVE Janko’s on the Flame’s draft list. There may well have been another name or more near the top of that list, but if there was, Feaster will probably never reveal it. If there was not, then Feaster would have still called Janko to the podium at #14, and Sieloff would have gone elsewhere.

        I really have no problem with the Janko pick at this time. Feaster’s statement after the pick was irresponsible, but he was correct in that it will be 10 years before we know for sure who the best player available was at #14, #21, and #42. I realize that the whole point of this site is to share thoughts/ideas, but no draft can be well judged after only 13 months.

        • True, but since I don’t know the Flames list, I am personally comparing the choice to what was freely available at 14 overall. Teuvo Teravainen is tracking as the potential big miss so far, although I like the look of Olli Maata, Cody Ceci, Mike Matheson, Pontus Aberg and Sebastion Collberg as well.

          Re: Tervainen. He’s smaller, but the same age as Janko and put up much better results in a pro league (SM-liiga) last season (31 points in 44 games).

          Agreed that we can’t accurately assess the draft performance this close to the picks, but we can track progress as much as possible. The same reason Flames fans are justifiably excited about Gaudreau or Baertschi is why many are concerned about Janko – post draft performance.

          That said, he can take a big step forward this season and wipe out out much of those concerns.

  • supra steve

    No chance in hell he makes the World Junior team. Nepotism invite and he will look like a boy amongst men. Hopefully Klimchuk gets a chance based on how he plays this fall

  • BurningSensation

    A late first round pick (especially in what is likely to be considered a weak draft overall) doesn’t have a better than 50/50 likelihood of being an NHL player.

    As such, I supported Feaster’s moving down to grab another asset (Seilof), and swinging for the fences on a project like Jankowski. At the top of the first round, you can draft purely for BPA. Outside of the top 10, you can flavour your selections for team need (i.e. if you have several players at a particular tier on the board, you take the one that fills an organizational hole). Jankowski projects to be a 6’4, 200 lb+ center with skill and speed. I’d say that fits an organizational need to a ‘T’.

    Regardless of whether or not Jankowski actually pans out, I like knowing that our GM and scouts are willing to take risks at an appropriate stage of the draft to try and make the team better.

    The problem is Feaster shooting off his face immediately after taking him, specifically, the ‘best player in this draft’ business. As smart as the move he made to get Jankowski was, the presser afterward was as remarkably stupid.

    That said, so what? Nothing Feaster said is going to ruin the kids confidence, or create unrealistic expectations in any of the people who actually matter (the org and Jankowski). As dumb as what he said was, it does no actual harm except to act as a lightning rod for criticizing Feaster.

    As for Jankowski being a ‘nepotism’ invite, I just don’t see it. It’s not like Jankowski’s uncle is on the camp selection committee. Nor is it likely that the selection people would give a rats ass about Jankowski if they didn’t think he would at least provide for good competition against the others at camp. It doesn’t matter what your last name is, if you can’t keep up, you don’t get invited.

    But maybe I am wrong on this, and there are lots of invites in the past of players with famous last names who show up at camp to be humiliated. But if it is the case that the Canadian WJC camps are filled with nepotism selections, I am unaware of it.

    • Totes agree… if you evaluate and decide that all that is left is 2nd 3rd line talent then why not take a risk on a kid who may be an outlier, and who based on his potential projects to be a top line player

      Ill say it again… this team has always had mid tier talent figured out… we need to acquire top end talent and I like that Feaster took the risk even if it ends up a strikeout.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t think any of the draft picks are Feaster plays, really. Feaster made it abundantly clear that he’s not a “hockey guy”, and relies on the input of his subordinates to make decisions of that nature. I’d be surprised if that ever changed.

  • Feaster’s always been adamant, particularly since Weisbrod came on, that the Flames “draft their list” and commit their scouting department to ensuring that they have their list correct.

    It’s either a “Weisbrod pick” or a “List pick.”

  • Teravainen looks like too many of our other prospects: like Baertshi, Gaudreau, Granlund, another undersized skilled winger – so unless he’s an absolute superstar that seems to me to be the wrong player for the Flames.

    As far as the Feaster statement about “the best player from this draft in 10 years”: first, yeah it’s a dumb thing to say, but second, the key part of the phrase is “in 10 years” – not, you know, in 10 months or even 13. And the other thing is the idea that the kid is being crushed by the overwhelming pressure of this statement is goofy: Jankowski may have issues, but confidence is clearly not one of them.

    Beyond that, I agree with everything Burning Sensation says.

  • Michael


    ‘ Feaster made it abundantly clear that he’s not a “hockey guy’

    When you are GM of a hockey club, isn’t ‘not being a hockey guy’ a cause for some pretty serious concern?

    in my opinion, Feaster simply has the wrong job, and should not have been promoted to GM.
    He has the legal background to be an Asst GM (dealing with contracts and the CBA)and the business background to be Team President (running the hockey business), but not the ‘hockey sense’ to be GM.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t think so. You don’t have to be a high-level analyzer of talent to be a good GM, just as a good manager in banking doesn’t require that you be an expert financial analyst. The important part of being a GM is actually managing people, which means being good at identifying people for support staff, good at listening to them, and good at building a working environment.

      I think one of the reasons so many hockey teams DO have issues is explicitly that their GMs ARE hockey guys. “LOL I’M AN EX-PLAYER ERGO EVERYTHING IS DONE MY WAY” (e.g. Darryl Sutter)

      You can’t have someone who’s entirely ignorant to the business as a GM, but I think it’s fair to say that Feasty is knowledgeable enough. You need like… a fan level of knowledge to be a good GM (in addition to a bunch of other aptitudes), and not much more.

    • supra steve

      But what Feaster is, is a business/legal guy. That covers a big part of his GM job.

      As for hockey:

      -Joined Hershey Bears in 1990 and worked his way up to GM, becoming executive of the year in the AHL in 1997.

      -Joined Tampa as an asst. GM in ’98, became GM in ’02, won Stanley Cup in 2004.

      -Joined Flames in 2010 rising to GM position when D. Sutter was let go.

      So, you are correct that he didn’t play minor hockey, or rise to the NHL as an athelete (like Mike Milbury/Phil Esposito and any number of other inept executives did). But, after 20+ years working in management at the highest levels of hockey it could be argued that he understands his job and has potential to do it well. I’m sure he is resigned to the fact that he will always be viewed by some as “not a hockey guy”.

      Is he the best guy for this job?? I’m sure I don’t know, but not being a hockey guy is not a big concern for me.

      • BurningSensation

        One of the hall marks of good management is that they surround themselves with very competent people and then get out of their way and let them do their jobs.

        A telling thing for me was that Feaster didn’t jettison the scouting department on arrival – he clearly thought they were competent. So why all the bad drafts previously? I suspect strongly that Sutter was ‘making the final call’ on things rather than his scouting staff.

  • piscera.infada

    Thank-you @SmellOfVictory and @Suba Steve.

    I was thinking the same thing as both of you, but for whatever the reason I just couldn’t find the words.

    I find it interesting that Chiarelli has a very similar background to Feaster (minus Chiarelli’s playing in the NCAA, and apparent gymnastics talent). Both were private practice attorneys, who worked their way up through various levels of the business side of the sport before become assistant GMs.

    In addition, many GMs start out as player agents. I’m not sure being a player agent means you have an inherent knack for finding talent (thus, being a “hockey guy”).

    I don’t mean this to sound like a ringing endorsement of Feaster – it isn’t. I am just skeptical of how much of a hockey guy a GM really needs to be. In fact, don’t a lot of former players end up in president or vice-president of hockey ops role anyway?

  • Its funny how in one post we say how great the prospects look, and how bright the future seems..

    Then in the next post its back to ‘lets fire Feaster’ talk.

    Our prospect pool would look alot different if its wasnt for Feaster.

    And to clear it up Feaster said John Wiesbrod told him this kid could, when looking back after 10 years, be at the top of his draft class.

    He didnt say he was the best.

    If they picked first overall, they would have drafted Galchenyuk. He was at the top of their list.

    He is looking like a steel for the Habs at 3. Should have been at worst 2.

    Feaster has revolutionized the drafting procedure by taking information from many areas: scouts, video, computer software, to make a list that his group is comfortable with.

    Last identified Galchenyuk as the best player in the draft but knew they had no chance of getting him. They found Janko by accident and woulda traded 1st pick if they hadent.

    Weather they are right or wrong about Janko, it was a good risk to take.

    Plus Feaster and co. were great in 2011 – they nailed it with Sven, and did good in later rounds too (Granlund, Wotherspoon, Guadreau, Broissot).

    From purely making the team better, now and in the future, what complaints can truly be made of Feaster?

    He traded late round picks away for wasted players (Modin, PL3)?

    Thats the worst things I can think of him doing, resigning FA doesnt matter because we dont spend assests for building the future.

    Stop judging the guy on everything he says…

    Look at what he has done to base jugdement.

    Forget about O’Riely, and statements were gonna make the playoffs, and janko is the best player in the draft in 10 years….

    None of those things have made us worse, Janko was not hindered by the comment.

    No GM is perfect but I’d take Feaster any day of the week. Why?

    Because the man will do whatever it takes to make this team better. He looks in every nook and cranny for a cheap or free asset to help the team. Be it a FA, a player lost in a another teams depth chart or the KHL(Cervenka, Ramo, Berra, Dekeyser, Richards, Knight).

    All he has done is build up our organizational assets.

    Enough with the blind hate one minute, then the next praising our top 10 prospects list.

    Feaster aquired 90% of them…

    Give the guy a break


  • TheoForever

    Good post by SeanCharles.

    Those that constantly attack Feaster fail to provide adequate replacement.
    Former players with zero experience are not good options just wishful thinking.
    Same can be said for Burke whose style would not fit this organization.
    If we look around the league there is lots of GM’s way worse than Feaster, just look at Van or Edm.
    If you look at the history of Flame GM’s nobody is worse than Riser and Button.
    In comparison Feaster looks very good.

    I rather listen to Feaster than Sutter any day, at least Jay has something to say and doesn’t look at everyone like a bunch of idiots.

    All in all Feaster has improved our prospect talent pool by miles and there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

    • TheoForever

      Agreed. Though I did find it interesting that they were looking to add Shanahan. I think that the team is of the belief that they are missing a “hockey guy” within the group. I wonder if they are still looking, (I think so) and if we might learn more about this before the start of the year…

  • TheoForever


    I have no problem with adding another hockey guy, one more head wouldn’t hurt.
    This would remove King from hockey decisions and let him do what he does best.

  • Again, lets beat up on a 18 year old kid, let team Canada evaluate him. As far as Feaster goes why not have a session specifically on him. Depth in the organization seems to be the best in a decade, maybe not high end but acceptable. Back to the kid and draft, if the kid and 2nd round player both make the NHL then it was a good move if neither then a bad move. Again only time will tell.