The Flames are in a no-lose situation with Mark Jankowski

As we creep closer to the National Hockey League trade deadline, we’ll be speculating a LOT about what the Calgary Flames will or won’t do. But let’s be very blunt here: there isn’t a wrong move they can make in regards to Mark Jankowski.

Allow me to explain.

Providence College has games scheduled until Feb. 27, at which point Hockey East’s playoffs begin. And the NCAA regionals go March 25-27 and the Frozen Four are April 7-9, and the Friars will definitely at least make regionals.

The reason that matters is that the Flames could potentially entice Jankowski to sign an entry-level contract by burning a year of it right away to give him a taste of the NHL right away. But let’s just pretend that that’s not in the cards and that the NHL and college seasons end before Jankowski signs.

Should fans be worried? Nope. Because every option the Flames have available to them in regards to Jankowski is a good one.

PLAN A: HE SIGNS

If Jankowski signs, the Flames get to see if a long-term college prospect (and a first round pick from a prior regime) will pan out. He’s found money, and he’s been pretty good for Providence College this season, scoring just over a point per game. Based on his age, he’d sign a two-year entry-level deal. If he ends up playing NHL games this season, the first year will be burned and he’ll leave the entry-level system a year earlier. That means basically nothing except he’ll be exempt from assignment to the ECHL a year earlier than he otherwise would.

In the grand scheme of things, unless Jankowski turns into Joe Nieuwendyk right away – and wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have – him becoming a restricted free agent after one season or two makes very little difference. Bill Arnold and Bryce Van Brabant were in a similar boat, and it’s not like the Flames were torn asunder by their decision to give them a few NHL games as an enticement to sign.

(Aside: if somehow Providence College bows out early and Jankowski does sign, bringing him onto the NHL roster directly doesn’t burn one of the Flames’ four recalls, so it’s an easy way to give the team an extra healthy body down the stretch.)

PLAN B: THEY TRADE HIM

Think about Jankowski on paper, regardless of the baggage he has with this organization.

  • He’s 6’4″.
  • He’s 205+ lbs.
  • He’s developed into a really good two-way center.
  • He’s good at faceoffs.
  • He’s won an NCAA championship.

There’s plenty of college free agents worse than Jankowski that develop a good deal of trade buzz. If he doesn’t sign right after the college season is over, they can shop him around and get an asset. And if they don’t get something they like, they have a great fall-back.

For reference, Corban Knight made the Hobey Baker long-list in his senior year and only netted Florida a fourth round pick from Calgary because the Panthers didn’t have any leverage on Knight, who was a fifth round pick. Jankowski isn’t quite as highly-regarded in college hockey circles (he’s not even on the Hobey Baker preliminary fan voting list), but his stature as a former first round pick and placement on a good college team may up his trade value.

For another reference, recall the Tim Erixon trade back in 2011. If Erixon refused to sign with Calgary and went back into the draft, they would’ve “just” gotten a second round pick. But since a few teams (notably the Rangers) didn’t want to risk dealing with the uncertainty of the draft, they gave Calgary a little more (two second rounders and Roman “Scorak” Horak) to assure they got their man. If a team has fallen in love with Jankowski and doesn’t want him to hit the open market on Aug. 15, they could up the ante.

PLAN C: HE WALKS, THEY GET A 2ND ROUNDER

If Jankowski doesn’t sign with the Flames and opts to go elsewhere when he becomes a free agent on Aug. 15, the Flames get a compensatory draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Since Jankowski was selected with the 21st overall pick in the first round of 2012, the Flames would get the 21st pick in the second round of this year’s draft – which would be 51st overall.

This year’s draft is fairly deep, and the Flames would be able to (a) give their scouting staff another kick at the can coming off a few drafts that were pretty solid for that group or (b) give Brad Treliving some ammunition to upgrade the roster through trades, as he did last year to trade up (or down) in the draft if they see a player they like. If your team doesn’t have a ton of picks, they don’t have very much flexibility to wheel, deal, or even just pick several times at the draft.

There’s no bad scenario here.

  • FeyWest

    He was also a first round pick, which also looks good on paper, although I don’t know how much weight it would hold now, especially because Feaster went off the board to get him.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    The question becomes: Is he the next Joe Nieuwendyk or the next Joe Colborne? My guess…he signs, does not start until fall, and shows a talent level somewhere in the middle between the 2 Joes. Actually his presence makes perhaps Stajan and likely Colborne almost expendable completely except you know…JC is a Calgary boy, likes the military, Burke has acquired him a few times.

  • supra steve

    I think if the club loses Janko for a second rounder that doesn’t pan out (a very real possibility with late second rounders), then there is real potential for a loss…if Janko goes on to be an everyday NHLer.

  • Brent G.

    There is no doubt in my mind Jankowski will sign a contract with the Flames. Remember when everyone went on an irrational tirade worried Johnny wouldn’t sign? Jankowski will have half the interest in him as a free agent by comparison and is likely to be loyal to the team that took such a bold risk on him.

    Let’s not go blowing this situation out control over literally nothing.

  • Greg

    I thought when he elected to go straight to college, it meant he would graduate early enough he wouldn’t be able to play the college UFA and the flames would still have his rights? Is that not the case?

  • Greg

    Also, he was a first round pick. I don’t see how he can be considered “found money” or how being converted into a 2nd round pick can be considered a no-lose situation. Anything less than becoming a decent bottom 6 option is a loss.

    • This is my thought on him as well. “Found money” is not a term that you use on a first round pick. 5th round? Yes.

      I know he was a late first round pick but a bottom six player is the minimum you are wanting when you pick these players. You aren’t picking them 25th and thinking “I sure hope we can turn him into a 51st pick in 4-5 years”.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    I think jankowski will do great things in a flames uniform and haters will be eating some crow..I for one eat a lot and will gladly do it again if I’m wrong

  • aflame13

    The only things I can see the team losing are in this situation: if he walks and they get a pick, they lose not only a first for a second, but a few precious years of prospect development. Which at this state in the rebuild, could hurt.

  • KACaribou

    Here is the running popularity totals of FN compared to ON on the last 5 articles written, in regard to comments, which is why most people come here.

    Everyone here likes Analytics right?!

    FN: 15, 19, 7, 1, 48 = 90

    ON: 42, 94, 70, 24, 1 = 231

    That’s a beatdown folks. BTW the 1 on both were the thrilling Roundups. What is FN doing wrong?

    • MattyFranchise

      If you want to read posts with a bunch of crappy comments then go to calgary puck.

      I for one appreciate the fact that FN only has one ultrathinzigzags and he’s been banned. ON has like a hundred of them posting on every article.

      • cberg

        Edit – I’ve been banned again. And my comment has been edited. This will continue until I can convince the mods that I will be a useful contributor to this community.

    • FeyWest

      FN is doing nothing wrong imo, what’s the point in trash comments? Doesn’t mean it’s popular, I for one would rather have meaningful discussions without the annoyance of someone verbally attacking you for no reason than their own self satisfaction. It derails the thread and generally the atmosphere is hostile and doesn’t drive up publicity it just gives a place for trolls to reside and spew nonsense. I’ve wander over to ON a few times on really slow days and a good chunk of the comments are rubbish. Not only that you have to look at the type of Article it is as well, some articles are nothing more than general news that is good updates but doesn’t necessarily need 10 pages of comments. Hell we can look at your comment and point out that’s its not even related to the article, doesn’t mean your 1 comment makes this article more popular.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      You are close-minded. Yes FN has more Analytics, because we look to the future and what real NHL teams do (not get into “yo Mama so fat” debates like on ON). Tonnes of former-bloggers who are analytics guys work for NHL teams, I am sure you are aware if not I can provide a list. That’s all anyone needs to know about the usefulness of them, the teams use them so they are clearly of true value. Not using them heavily in 5 years will be akin to goalies going back to no masks or helmets.

        • RealMcHockeyReturns

          Actually, I was on point about part of your comments that I can fairly comment on. Kent Wilson covered the other part. You took a potshot at “Analytics” which you often criticize, so I pointed out they are legitimately and heavily used in the real NHL. Since you realize you are in the minority, you insult my writing skills. I have actually written for this site in past. Great job!

    • Cfan in Vic

      I, for one, would much rather discuss what the Flames are doing right or wrong. That’s kind of the point.

      Also, hasn’t Oilersnation been around for much longer, therefor gaining a much larger audience? From the semi-annual updates from management, it sounds like FN is growing momentum, so I’m not sure why the comment disparity is an issue…

    • OilersNation is several years older and has orders of magnitude more readers than FlamesNation. In fact, ON is one of the largest independent sports sites in North America. Their audience is also qualitatively different than ours.

      That said, FlamesNation is by the far the largest Flames blog that exists in terms of amount of content, contributors and active readers. We also grew our average audience by about 25% over the last 12 months.

      If you have legitimate concerns or interests in the business of this blog, please contact me directly. Otherwise, stop cluttering this thread because this isn’t really related to the article topic.

      • KACaribou

        Hey Kent. It was an appropriate question, pointed out by this site several times inviting people to check out something on ON.

        I will say anything I feel like on this site. This is your continual attempt to stifle any thought different from your own.

        The site is quite good when you don’t intercede. Does professional media feel the need to comment about every letter to the editor I ask you?

        You don’t either, just any letter you feel makes you look bad. Very unprofessional. Suck it up, it happens to everyone else here getting Trashed continually.

        • Cfan in Vic

          Kent’s response was completely professional, and gave legit reasons for the points that you shared.

          I find it kind of strange that you often seem to inject a standoff-ish vibe to this thread. I don’t think it accomplishes what you want it to, and it definitely detracts from the thread.

  • MattyFranchise

    I don’t know why but I’ve always hoped that The Big Jankowski makes it with the Flames. Probably a cheering for the underdog thing.

    Anyway, he’s big, defensively responsible, good at faceoffs, and has demonstrated average to good scoring ability at his level.

    If he ends up as a 3rd/4th line center/penalty killer then it’s a pretty good win for the Flames. We shouldn’t be punishing this player or running him out of town before he even gets here because Feaster is an idiot.

    Besides, with some of the fleecings BT has managed to pull off so far, a 2nd rounder for him in a trade some time in the future isn’t completely out of the question.

      • cberg

        I’m cheering for him because he’s a team prospect, has great speed, size, tools, history and experience and seems to be exactly the kind of guy we need a few more of on the Flames, assuming he continues his progression. The Feaster thing would be terrific if it turned out but really its irrelevant.

        Hey look, I bet everyone on here would be ECSTATIC if we drafted Pulhujarvi this June but really, can we reasonably say today there is anything proven different between the two so far except one is older, more developed, better-rounded and has better results against men than the other?

  • FeyWest

    If Janko becomes another Colborne I’ll be slight disappointed but at the same time Colborne was a former 1st rounder so it’s a bit of a success. However, I can’t see him becoming another Colborne because his game has so much more useful traits to it, sure he may not light it up like Bennett but if he can be a solid 2-way centerman I’ll be very happy.

  • cberg

    Prospects update: Janko had a goal, Gilmour no points, Hickey no points, Anderson 2 apples, Mang 2G 1A. On the farm Poirier scored the only goal of the game but Grant scored the shootout winner. Heat generated 51 shots scored 1 goal. There have been many games this season where they have had over 40 shots but came away with only 1 or 2 goals.

    • Canrock 78

      Thanks for the update. I would like to hear more comments from flame fans watching our prospects or future high end draft picks.

      Kacaribou. If you look at our Trash and prop count the most you will see is 50 – 60 total. If somehow we could entice the ones that are only reading the comments to join in the discussion would be great.

      Some of the writers on ON feed the haters by saying the hate the flames or take shots at there management. This sets a negative culture and attracts the haters.
      There are couple very good commenters on ON that I don’t see much any more, I’m guessing they get tired of the negative crap.

      I personely don’t like the pilling on. Raised to many chickens I guess I’ve seen what the mob mentality can do to someone that Is defenceless. That’s where the term rose coloured glasses came from for the younger crowd.

      There are so many positive things to talk about, why do we waste so much energy focusing on the negatives. Other than that it creates more comments than positive discussion.

      I know my grammar sucks always has, I don’t come here for grammar lessons. So save your breath.

  • Kevin R

    I was wondering what people think of the job BT has done this season, most of us gave him an A+ for his off season work; acquiring Hamilton and Frolik. Now I’m sure he has worked hard knowing what is going on in the league but nothing has transpired. I watched the interview with him between periods and I got the feeling that he is not planning on doing anything to help this team at this moment. He does not want to trade prospects or draft picks and I like the idea of being patient and allowing some of the guys time in the AHL. Am I the only one who got that message? If my interpretation is correct is that good enough for a team that is competitive?

    Many on this site attack BH for player deployment me included but BH can only choose from the 23 guys BT makes available. We attack players for not being good enough but they are often asked to play out of their depth (Colborne comes to mind as the current target).

    So my question is BT doing enough at this time?

    • Canrock 78

      That’s what I’m talking about Willis!

      I believe he is doing as much as he can considering the weird year for trading. Our best trade chips have not exactly helped him out, either injury or early performance.

    • Cfan in Vic

      I didn’t interpret his message that way, at all.

      To me, he was saying pretty much everything he always says. He diplomatically states that he’s not going to make a move for the short term, and is only looking for moves if they will make this club better now AND in the future. He didn’t clearly state whether he’s completely cleaning out shop at the deadline, or standing pat. To me, that’s the common BT line, and I’m all for it. Don’t show your hand.

      I’m also not very critical for lack of moves during the season (at least pre-deadline). It hasn’t been a very active trade season, and half the moves that most of us want to see made are pretty tough sells. I’m a bit more critical about not moving certain pieces during last off-season, but that is purely based on hindsight being 20/20.

    • Kevin R

      I think you are looking for drama & something to pick at. Honestly, it’s been noted by all the MSM that trading is literally non-existent & real hockey trades are almost impossible to do during the season. The Jones-Johansen deal is really about the only deal that has been done, maybe the LA-Philly deal could almost be int that category as well.

      What do you expect him to do? Friedman, Mackenzie & a lot of the other insiders have mentioned that BT is one of the more active GM’s. When we started training camp & started the season, most were pretty excited to see what the new additions + the young players will do & if they can take the next step. I’m sure you’ll see some things happen as we get closer to the TDL. We are still in it, another winning streak could change the perspective of this real quick. A horrible streak may lead to selling a little quicker. But we are basically a .500 team & that means we are going to have to watch the paint dry as we slowly get closer to Feb 29th.

      So my question back to you is what do you “realistically” think he should do? Just don’t say trade him & him & him, because we both know it doesn’t work that way. Look at Bergevin, Canadiens need to do something more drastically than us, what has he done?

      • KACaribou

        Actually I don’t think I was looking for drama but a discussion. Realistically I actually like his position of being patient with the prospects for the most part. What I would like to see him do is send someone down to the AHL and therefore make room to see a prospect in the NHL. Bollig, Raymond (doubtful anyone takes them but if they do it makes room) and even Granlund(he is still waiver exempt I believe) could be sent down allowing one of the prospects a chance(Grant, Poirier, Agostina). I would also like to see Nakladal be giveen a chance but I doubt we see the Flames waive any of their bottom 3 defenders even though I doubt anyone of them would be claimed as the price tag is to high. I doubt any of these changes would make this team less competitive but it would change things. Change the deck, give BH some different cards to play.

        My primary purpose was to discuss that BH can only choose from the deck he is given.

        • Kevin R

          Well I don’t think he can discuss that type of player movement & probably the decision to bring anyone up & send Granlund down will be up to Hartley & Huska. If BH really wanted an injection of something different all he has to do is request the player movement. Prior to the TDL you are just not going to see players like Bollig(which I don’t agree with you on) or Raymond being sent down. That is going to be the type of stuff you see after the TDL.

          • Kevin R

            Agreed, players under contract beyond this year are not likely moved before the TDL; more obvious moves are players who become UFA on July 1, like Jones and Hudler.

            There are so many teams that will still be in the playoff hunt at TDL that there will not be much action unless it is done fr the purposes of tanking like last season.

            BT will try and make deals but little or nothing will happen.

          • Kevin R

            I don’t think it is as easy as you say, I don’t think BH can just ask for a guy. I suspect that BH would have preffered to keep Byron(one of his favorites last year) but he was waived anyways. Even if BH could do this as easily as you say BT still would need to consider who to waive.

            I’m interested in why you don’t agree with me on Bollig, yes he had one of his best games last game but more often that not he takes bad penalties, drags the 4th line down, and I seldom see him do what many say his job is(protect the skilled guys). Maybe you see something I’m missing.

          • Kevin R

            I have no problem seeing Bollig in the press box but not waived. As much as you would like a team full of Gaudreaus & Byrons & Hudlers, there is a heavy component to the game & he needs to be accessible to Hartley if that is what he wants in his lineup. Not sure where you are coming from about it’s not as easy for Hartley to have players sent back & called up from the farm team, he tells the GM to process sending X player down & recall X player up. He’s the coach, he sets the line up, he plans the systems, he plays who he wants in the positions he feels he & the Flames will have the most success with. If Tre doesn’t like how the team is being coached, he gets another coach. I have no idea what back office stuff you think that happens. Now if Bob wants to ship a player that could get picked off of waivers, I think the GM & Coach would have a long dialogue before doing so. So I totally disagree that Hartley & Tre made the joint decision to waive Byron. It was a calculated risk that didn’t work out.

            Really, why do you need statistical evidence trying to measure something that happens time & again during a game. Bolligs presence in the lineup is a deterrent to behaviours that haven’t happened yet. There is no imperial evidence or stat. Maybe ask a player like Gaudreau or Monahan or Bennett. But because there are no measurements you still probably wouldn’t be satisfied.

          • Kevin R

            The same old argument that tough guys who seldom play and never play with our top end/skilled guys act as a deterrent. If you want to say a guy like Ferland playing with Johnny and Mony creates space I will agree with you. I like good physical hockey but to believe that a guy who almost always plays against the other teams 4th line and seldom plays more than 10 minutes and even less often drops his gloves is a deterrent is rather silly.

          • FeyWest

            Agreed, It’s not as much a deterrent as it used to be, there really is no threat to a anyone because nobody jumps the boards to go after anyone anymore. The game has changed in such a way that if you do such a thing the league no undoubtedly suspends you and even if not they are certainly getting a penalty and that is only good for the opposing team.

            Nothing really happened during the Jersey game (I believe) when they kept “accidentally” hitting Hiller and disrupting his game, Johnny is constantly slashed and abused and nothing happens. There is no deterrent. However, have a guy who plays decently and with sandpaper like Bennett and like Ferland does help a bit because he is able to take a bit of the target off of guys who are targeted like Johnny. I liked when Bollig gets involved and uses his body effectively I just don’t think he does it enough and I’m not sure why. He is just a bridge player but he can have utility when he uses it, the problem is he’s not consistent at all.

            The deterrent WAS always the fact that a guy could jump the boards and mess you up, that just doesn’t happen anymore. We need functional toughness not pylon toughness.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Going off the board with en early round pick hardly ever works out.

    See also: Backlund, Baerchi, Poirier, Hunter Smith, Mayson McDonald, etc, etc…….

    If a GM wants to prove to everyone else how smart he is; save it for the later rounds, you might find a gem there. Gaudreau, Brodie, Ferland, Mega-pane (hopefully)

    WW

    • Kevin R

      Your timing couldn’t be worst for that comment.

      Backlund – a 2nd line center, 21pts in last 33 games
      Baertschi – a 2nd line winger, 9pts in last 14 NHL games
      Poirier – PPG in AHL / January, starting to come on as a 20 year old in a very tough league after being one of the best 19 year olds a year ago

      Hunter Smith / Mason McDonald – not even two seasons removed from their draft, stupid to judge them for another three.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Backlund is a 3c at the very best.

        Baerchi: we traded our first round pick for a second.

        Poirier is fizzling out.

        Mayson macdonald was picked when the concensus #1 goalie was still available. That pick will haunt us for a decade.

        Hunter will likely never be a NHL regular.

        WW

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      Backlund was the 2nd ranked European propect heading into the draft, Baertschi was the 7th ranked NA skater, Smith was a strech, McDonald was the 2nd ranked goalie. The only one of those that you listed that’s “off the board” is Smith..

  • Kevin R

    I’ve never liked the Jankowski pick. However, after we were stuck with him, I hoped he would work out because why not? Best for the team if he does, obviously. I had stated that if he does make it as an impact player, it will only be after 4 full seasons in college, 2 more in the minors and another 2 years of NHL development.

    About a season or two ago, because he’s been a continual topic of debate, I decided to get off the fence and make a prediction on him. I decided he would not make it as an impact NHL’er. This season he’s been far better, but he’s also in his 4th year and I still think he’ll struggle in the pros.

    Coming full circle, if I am wrong and he does make it, it will still be in that 6-8 year timeline. Which means he’ll be 26 years old before becoming an impact player. That doesn’t happen a lot, so I don’t hold out a ton of hope.

    End of the day, whether he makes it or not, not a great pick at that stage in the draft.

  • Kevin R

    Baertschi, btw, now on the 1st line, 7 goals in his last 13 games.

    As for Backlund, I’ve always said he’s n elite 3C and can play 2C with skilled wingers because he can skate, think and drive play enough to contribute in such a situation.

    Predictably, now that he’s doing that, the haters have labeled him as riding the coat tails of others. Hilarious.

    You just can’t win with some people.

  • ClayBort

    Jankowski isn’t that great at faceoffs… He is 49% this year and faceoffs is a stat that seniors tend to dominate in the NCAA. His 2 shots per game is also pretty ugly. Only a couple of current 4 years NCAAers are in the NHL with rates that low, and they are fringe at best. There is a long list of comparables that flopped, and a very very short list of similar players that got more than a cup of coffee in the NHL.

    Colborne was good in 2 years with U of D turning pro rather than playing his junior year. Even he is in tough to be anything more than a 3rd or 4th liner. If Jankowski hasn’t performed anywhere close to as well as Joe in the NCAA in 4 seasons, how can anyone have warm fuzzies about the player?

    Compensatory 2nd is best case scenario. That drafted player likely has a better chance at being a real NHLer and that pick is worth more as trade currency too.