Jankowski Watch is on: NCAA national brackets announced

After a whirlwind weekend of conference playoff tournaments, the NCAA has set its bracket for the 2016 national championship tournament. As has been typical in recent years, there’s a lot of Calgary Flames representation in the tournament. More importantly there’s a lot of senior representation and 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski is now into the “lose and then sign with the Flames” portion of his senior season.

THE SCHEDULE

One of the four top seeds in college hockey, Providence College plays Minnesota-Duluth at 2:30pm MT on Friday. If they win, they play again on Saturday at 7pm MT against the winner of Notre Dame and Michigan.

Providence College won 10 in a row at the end of the season, with the streak getting snapped in a triple-overtime game with U-Mass Lowell over the weekend. Overall, they were 27-6-4 on the season. Jankowski had 40 points this season and led the Friars in scoring. Teammate John Gilmour, another Flames pick, had 23 points. Their opponent Minnesota-Duluth is 19-16-0 on the season and have alternated wins and losses since a January five-game winning streak. The Friars match up well against them.

A lower seed in the tournament, Boston University plays Denver on Saturday at 4:30pm MT, and moves on to face the winner of St. Cloud State and Ferris State on Sunday at 3pm MT if they can advance.

The Terriers finished their season 21-12-5 and have alternated wins and losses for much of the season. The Denver Pioneers finished 23-9-6 on the season. That game will be pretty even, at least in terms of how the teams match against each other. Flames pick Brandon Hickey had 8 points this season for the Terriers.

JANKOWSKI WATCH

Here’s the gist:

  • If Providence loses on Friday, Jankowski can potentially sign and fly from Worcester/Boston to join the Flames in Arizona on Monday night.
  • If Providence loses on Saturday, he still probably makes it to Arizona though the timelines will be tighter and he won’t have as much practice time.
  • If Providence makes it to the Frozen Four semis and loses on April 7, the Flames have a game on April 9 in Minnesota and can rush him from Tampa (where the Frozen Four is) to the arena in time.
  • If Providence makes it to the Frozen Four final on April 9, there won’t be any remaining Flames games for Jankowski to get into.

There’s also a non-trivial chance that Hickey signs with the Flames following his playoff exit, whenever that would be, but he’s only a sophomore so the temptation to stay in school is still there and there really isn’t an obvious place for him to play next season with the Flames organization having a ton of blueliners signed for next year already. Keep an eye on Hickey, but the focus for the Flames is likely what happens with Jankowski and when they can put pen to paper and get him in a fancy red jersey.

    • KiLLKiND

      Hopefully Providence makes it to the Frozen 4 so we don’t have to burn a year of his ELC if we do sign him. He seems to be the best player on the 4th best team in the NCAA which is a good sign. So it seems like we might as well sign him, he will probably end up being a cheap 3rd- 4th line centre with some size, and good hands(Joe Colborne 2.0). If he turns out better awesome if not, well we can’t change who we drafted now so we might as well sign him. Is the 52nd pick this year more valuable than him? I don’t think so.

      So go Friars! If he has a strong showing in the bracket that would be great, and as far as rumours go I haven’t heard any saying that Janko doesn’t want to sign with Calgary.

      Speaking of which I think that the college player loophole needs to be fixed. Every other player that gets drafted either signs with who drafted them or has their rights traded. It is strange that this loophole exists as it allows players to choose to sign with whoever they please essentially making the draft useless. This also basically only benefits American players, as they are the main group that goes the college route. Just think of how frustrating it was for Anaheim to lose Schultz, in hindsite they are probably happy with how that turned out though!

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I am excited to get Janko in the line up. From what I have seen and read he is going to be a good addition. I think the expectations on Janko were overstated but people need to realize that he has improved every year and was instrumental in leading his team to a national championship.

        He clearly plays on a team with a strong defensive system which would explain his modest point totals. This should translate nicely to the NHL level where lack of defensive awareness is a real issue for young players. Never the less, he has progressed, he is bigger, stronger with an improved skill set.

    • Truculence

      Hopefully he doesn’t sign here and we can pick up a second. He’s an absolutely mediocre player. He could have been a career bottom sixer if he didn’t play so soft.

      • smatic10

        Yea definitely, let’s pass on a 6′ 3″ 186lb centerman who has decent wheels, can shoot and make plays. We certainly don’t want a guy who finished the regular season leading his team in points with 40 in 37gp on a defensively minded team. Ew, he’s over 50% on the dot, who wants that? It’s gross that he has the ability to score big goals in high pressure moments (frozen four last year). I’d much rather have a 2nd rounder and wait an additional few years to see if the player drafted with that pick pans out.

        Sarcasm aside……I’m not saying he’s the next coming of Gretzky, but I am saying that it would be ridiculous to let him go before seeing what he’s capable of.

      • DoubleDIon

        Apparently I’m one of only 3 people here who agrees with you. Maybe only 3 of us have watched him. He’s big, but extremely soft. He plays a perimeter game and doesn’t play that hard most of the time. He isn’t an explosive skater, although he moves fine once he gets going.

        Colborne is the best case scenario from the games I’ve watched. ECHLer is the worst case. I’d take the 2nd rounder honestly if this draft was deeper.

    • Azim

      Can’t believe it’s been four years already since Janko came on board. Feels like yesterday he was a highly touted and surprise pick by Feaster & company, raw and fresh off a high school career. Now he’s about to graduate college. Kind of feel like a proud father right now. Well, if we overlook all the other contentious issues of how we got him (controversial adoption process maybe, if we extend the suddenly weird analogy?).

      Anyways … Hickey. We haven’t heard much about him since the Juniors. 8 points seems very low, even for college. I know he’s going to hang his hat on his defensive game, but should we be worried that his production is halved from last year? Can anyone comment on his play this year? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but can we send out a bat signal to Lambert for some insight?