WWYDW: Janko Unchained?

Those are some silky hands to be sure. Why can’t this happen more often?! What Would You Do Wednesday returns to talk Jankowski. 

The Flames are two points away from the playoffs. I can barely stand to think about how exciting that is. In the meantime, let’s talk about one of the most polarizing Flames prospects since well, Sven Baertschi I suppose. 

Providence College is playing their first Frozen Four game on Thursday against the University of Nebraska Omaha and if the Friars are unsuccessful, the Flames may have some interesting decisions ahead of them regarding some of their Friars players. Included in this group is Mark Jankowski, whom, if you recently exited a Flames coma, was the Flames first rounder in 2012. The question I pose to the faithful readership is, should the Flames turn him pro? Read on after the jump!

First of all, if there is a better twitter user out there than Jay Feaster, I don’t know who it is. Mixing the subtlety of Hulk Hogan and the prose of a text message from my mother, J-Fizzle is certainly one of Flames twitter’s most worthy follows. Clearly drunk with power, basking in the afterglow of the Flames victory over Glendale, Feaster mentioned last night that he would, if somehow given the opportunity/time manipulation, draft Jankowski again in 2012. 

Well, this topic has been spoken about ad nauseam and feel free to check out the rest of the 2012 first round here. Also remember that the Flames traded down from 14. Cry/scream at your own leisure. 

There. We’ve all looked at the others from 2012, and seen the stunned reaction from TSN and the heartwarming moment with his family. None of this matters now. Let us only evaluate the player at hand and do our best to divorce Jankowski from his first-round pedigree, as painful as that can be. What has Jankowski done since heading to NCAA hockey and how close, if at all, is this player from the “long term” that was projected of him by the TSN scouts and analysts?

janko

courtesy hockeydb

Stats-wise, this is has not been an ideal year for poor ol’Janko. After struggling with injury early in the year, Jankowski hasn’t been able to find his offensive game and currently sits sixth on his team in scoring. If you have been following the updates from Ryan Lambert this year, you’ll know that it hasn’t been a great year for him in a number of different ways and this past set of NCAA games was no exception. As per Lambert, Jankowski was unable to register a shot in the past two NCAA tournament games. Yikes.

It is widely-known that Providence is a low-scoring team and he wasn’t always surrounded by great linemates but for Jankowski to be producing at this rate in his Junior year has to be concerning for Flames brass. Jankowski should be driving the bus at the NCAA level if he is going to make it as a pro and so far that has not happened.  

Just to underscore how bad of a season Jankowski had this year, he wasn’t even the highest goal-scoring centre among Flames prospects in the NCAA. That honour belongs to Matt DeBlouw of Michigan State, a fellow 2012 draft-pick though DeBlouw went…um…six rounds later. Deblouw finished this year with eight goals (13 points though) in 35 games. It is clear that DeBlouw is a long shot to be an AHLer. Get to know him here!

   

Ever omniscient, Kent had a piece after Jankowski was drafted back in 2012 that compared Janko to Joe Colborne, It is certainly worth a read. It feels almost eerie now reading it because of the names mentioned that end up becoming Flames. In that piece, Kent discussed a ‘Mendoza Line’ of 0.7 ppg as Freshmen:

janko2

On another note,the Flames should take a look at that David Jones guy! Jankowski has yet to reach that 0.7ppg threshold in each of his first three seasons at Providence College, so here’s hoping he’s an exception.

One starts to wonder if the question now becomes not “when will he get his ELC from the Flames?” but if it will happen at all. If Janko returns to Providence for his Senior year, the spectre of free agency looms but are the Flames willing to sign him to prevent this or will they simply take the risk?

The Flames are beginning to get pretty crowded at centre and, make no mistake, that was the position advertised for Jankowski when he was drafted. Perhaps a position change is in his future but it seems unlikely at this point.  

The Flames have Bill Arnold, Josh Jooris (also plays wing), Drew Shore (also a RW), Markus Granlund, and eventually Sam Bennett to compliment the likes of Backlund, Stajan, and Monahan so it is unclear where exactly Jankowski would be slotting next year if he turned pro at the end of his season. 

It is interesting to note that in five of the last six drafts, the Flames have only drafted one centre in each year: (2014-Bennett ,2013-Monahan, [2012-Janko and Deblouw],2011-Granlund, 2010-Reinhart, 2009-Gaelan Patterson) so look out for next week’s post on Gaelan Patterson, seventh-leading scorer of your Idaho Steelheads!

Production wise, Jankowski isn’t tracking as anything near an NHLer, but is this a case where the Flames simply throw out the numbers and give him a chance based on sunk costs? Or do the Flames cut bait with a prospect from another regime and pretend that 2012 was Gaudreau’s draft year?  

It is important to note that Janko is only 20 (turns 21 in September) and isn’t exactly washed up. However, it will only get harder and harder for him to remain relevant, especially after another class of draft picks arrive this summer. 

I think the Flames may be slightly tempted to turn him pro at this point and see what they have in him as a pro, with the understanding that there is a long, difficult road in front of him. Like it or not, first round picks get more rope than other players and it’s quite possible that Jankowski will be no different. For whatever reason, the college game hasn’t worked out so well for Jankowski in terms of offense and it may be time to see what he can do against men. 

However, I say let him go back for a fourth year and hope he finds his offense and if he does, then you worry about where you slot him in. This buys the organization and Janko some more time to fill out physically and start scoring at a rate you would expect out of someone you’d be considering for a contract. 

But who cares what I think, what do you, the readers of FN think? Spill!