Flames Sign Mark Jankowski To Entry-Level Deal, Off To Stockton

The waiting game is finally over.

The Calgary Flames today announced the signing of college center Mark Jankowski, formerly a four-year member of the Providence College Friars of the NCAA, to a two-year entry level contract that begins next season. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available, but presumably Jankowski will get a rookie maximum deal (or something close to it).

Per the team’s release, he’ll join the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League on an amateur try-out for the remainder of the season.

Jankowski, 21, was the Flames first round selection in the 2012 Draft. That was the year where the Flames famously traded down from 14th overall to 21st overall and recouped themselves a second round pick (used to select Patrick Sieloff and replacing the one they sent to Buffalo the year before to get rid of Ales Kotalik’s contract).

While selecting an obscure teenager from a Quebec prep school raised a few eyebrows around town, chuckles were had league-wide when then-Flames general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod went on the offensive and defended the pick by comparing him to Hall of Fame center Joe Nieuwendyk and predicted that he’d be seen as the best player in the draft in 10 years.

Despite getting shot in the foot right out of the starting blocks by the hockey operations department of that era, Jankowski went to Providence College and had a pretty solid four-year tenure under head coach Nate Leaman. He won a national championship last season and was named to the all-tournament team for his performance, and he led the Friars in scoring during his senior year. While within Flames fan circles he may have been the most contentious player in decades – likely due to the circumstances under which he joined the organization – on paper he’s one of the better college prospects based on his size and collegiate achievements. (A 6’4″, 200+ pound center with a national championship? Those don’t grow on trees.)

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that one of the sticking points between the Flames and Jankowski was bonuses:

9. The status of Calgary’s Mark Jankowski is different
because the Providence College forward was a first-rounder. If no deal
is reached, the Flames get a compensatory pick, which would be 51st
overall. (The formula is simple: 30 spots later than where a player was
originally selected.) The issue in Jankowski’s case is bonuses. The club
and the agent (Wade Arnott) are arm-wrestling over them.

Presumably, given that Jankowski (and his agent) are giving up money by not having his entry-level deal start immediately, Treliving won that arm-wrestling match and gave in a bit on bonuses. (It was a negotiation, after all; you’ve gotta give something to get something.)

  • Pizanno

    A lot of people have never given this kid a chance based on things that were out of his control. Who cares where he was chosen or what was said about him at the time. In 2016 he’s a good prospect and officially a Flame. Go get ’em, kid.

  • Colin.S

    Good job by Management to get the kid on a two year deal starting next year and not burning a year this year.

    Probably not going to get a lot of games in before the end of the year to make any sort of judgement however and it doesn’t look very likely that Stockton is making the playoffs, especially with all the call ups lately. Good to see him albeit briefly in a better league, curious to see where he gets slotted in Stockton.

  • Hockeyfan

    I am excited about this player. I bet he makes the team next year and will impress. Now a decent draft pick, Reimer for 3 years at 4 mil,tho Elliott would be good too if we could get him, dump some contracts, 1 more prospect up front and 2 in 3 d pair. Vast improvement over last year.GFG.

  • KiLLKiND

    I have no idea why you guys are comparing the next Gretzky to Seguin. In all seriousness it’s really good that the deal doesn’t start till next season and I think it wouldn’t have got done without that major point. Now that we have him I really hope that he progresses a lot in the next year, cause by next year’s draft I have a feeling a 51st pick would sound really good compared to an underwhelming AHL season by Jankowski.

    I am curious to see what he becomes but think about it this way, would you trade a 2nd for him? I wouldn’t and by signing him that’s essentially what Treliving did. So 5 years down the road we can look at who we would have drafted at 51. Will it be someone as go as Andersson I can’t say for certain, but for asset management we lost this deal.

    Losing a deal doesn’t make it a bad deal it just means we gave up more than we should have for what we think he will become, kinda like when we drafted Jankowski in the 1st round. Or think about this way you are in a idding war for a house you got the house you REALLY wanted but paid more than you wanted, doesn’t make it a bad deal if you’re still happy with what you got. I really do hope Jankowski is going to become the Colborne we have been seeing these past few weeks, but if it takes him as long as it did Colborne he might end up getting traded and we won’t even get to see him in his prime. These are just things to consider about the deal. Now that it’s signed Go Janjowski! and Go Stockton!

  • JohnyR

    Hope his offense picks up, if it does we may have a middle 6 centre in a few years. Seems he’s been learning the defensive side for a while now.
    Fingers crossed….

  • T&A4Flames

    I think people should keep in mind that Jankowski played on a highly defensive minded team in college. Going to Stockton, who employs the same system as the Flames, he will be entering a much more offensive minded system. I think he automatically becomes Stockton’s #1 C and his abilities COULD be better utilized. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him put up a ton of points in Cali.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I felt all along there was no reason to Tre to burn a year. Although a decent college player, it’s not like this was Gaudrea or even Vesey for that matter. Way to stick to your guns.

    • piscera.infada

      I think we just need to clarify that there’s a difference between “burning a year on the ELC”, and “burning a year towards UFA status”. The thresholds are different.

      Either way though, Jankowski will still be eligible to become a UFA once he turns 27, and with a two-year ELC (versus the “Standard” three-year ELC), it all nets out as the same anyway.

  • smatic10

    The guy is 6′ 4″ 205lb. He has offensive capabilities. He can skate decently, make plays, and has a solid shot. His face off numbers have also been decent. He has shown that he can score clutch goals in big games (frozenfour last year). He’s also spent the last 4 years learning the defensive side of the game in Providence’s system. He has shown improvement year after year. What more do people want in a prospect? Chances are he’s not going to develop into “the best player out of his draft class”, but letting him walk would have been extremely poor asset management. Let’s see what this kid can do, I’m glad he’s on board.

  • PrairieStew

    For those thinking take the pick, go and read Haynes’ blog – a pick at 51 has less than 20% chance of playing 200 NHL games. Right now I like the odds of Janko doing that better.

    As for production – his last year in college he produced basically half of what Gaudreau did in his. So if in 2 years he’s closing in on 20 goals and 40 points in the NHL – you have Joe Colborne. Not bad.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    Man, Weisbrod must be fuming. He probably had Aug. 15 circled and hi-lighted on his calender at home. I wonder if he’ll try to get Benning to try and acquire Janko.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I really think people have underestimated him. He completely dropped off the radar with most flames fans after the first 2 years in college, his 3rd year was OK until the playoffs then he became a impact player on the biggest stage….and that says something.

    His 4th year was a success, more than a point per game, took on more of a leadership role, became a consumate 200ft player. Scored the most points in Providence history over the last several years on a team that typically rolls 4 lines. People need to realize that Johnny does not get 80 pts in this system, and Eichel or Vesey likely don’t get 60.

    Possibly the most polrizing player the Flames have ever had without even playing 1 Pro game. Not many players can show that type of improvement in successive years.

    My only concern is that all the kid hears is that he is a few years away from being ready for the NHL, and they are steering him down that path. Eventually a player starts to see himself that way. I really hope they give him a chance to win a spot in Training camp. I can’t see how he is not a better prospect than Kimchuck, Poirier, Arnold or better than Stajan or Bollig….really.

  • RKD

    Give him a chance, he’s progressed each and every year, he is 4 years mire mature, his body has filled out. If he doesn’t pan out, he doesn’t pan out but he’s got to see some game action.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Janko the lightening rod needs to end.

    Forget that he’s a first round pick. Forget that Feaster should have picked that guy or this guy. None of that matters anymore.

    Mark Jankowski is a Calgary Flames prospect now. If he can play at an NHL level, then great. If he winds up a a good bottom 6 player – fine. If he can actually crack the top 6 – wonderful.

    My real fear is that there are some fans looking for “the best pick in 2012”. It’s a stupid bar that is meaningless to measure against.

    • Stud Puffin

      I agree. A lot of hate for Janko on twitter. Its not his fault Feaster and Weisbrod are morons. I wish the people would direct their hate to them and not Janko. The way I look at it is there is about an 80% chance that neither Janko or the 51st pick make an impact in the NHL. So this debate has a huge chance of being a whole lot of nothing.

    • OKG

      I agree with what you’re saying however:

      One thing’s for sure, if we’re just comparing Jankowski to the forwards in 2012, the only guy who’s really separated himself from the pack is Filip Forsberg. None of Galchenyuk, Hertl, Teravainen, Yakupov, Girgensons, or Pearson have done anything to make Feaster’s claim look idiotic. It was a bold claim, but in the context of a poor draft it was still a grounded one. Jankowski could very well be one of the absolute best forwards from that draft class although likely only second place as Forsberg is a beauty.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    A buddy of mine who does stats and forecasts for one of them sports geek sites is projecting Janko will get 25G and 25A next season on the Flames and end up as one of the top 3 for ROY. By year 3, he has Janko at between 80 and 85 points. 100 point seasons he deems “likely.” The Mark Jankowski “Future Hall of Famer” hockey cards have already been sent to the printers. janks is going to make Joe Nieuwendyk look like Juha “Whitey” Widing.

  • Byron Bader

    Based on the sample of players that registered a 30+ NHLE at 21 or older between 2004 and 2014 …. Jankowski looks to have about a 36% chance of being a bust that never plays 100 games and a 2% chance of becoming an impact scorer (50+ points a year over his career). 62% chance he’s a 20 to 40 point guy playing bottom six.

    • McRib

      Honestly if I was going to choose someone who was part of that (unlikely category) 2% of becoming a real impact player, my money would be on Mark Jankowski.

      He is one of the most underdeveloped 21 year olds in history, he was an extreme late bloomer (5’5″ when OHL Draft took place), who is still 10-15 pounds under developed and is just getting used to new frame having gained 20-30+ pounds the last couple of summers.

      He also played on one of the deepest teams in the NCAA the last few years (see all of Providence’s Seniors being signed this week), which would have certainly limited offensive production greatly this year, due to receiving less ice time (I watched plenty of Providence Games this year, Jankowski was lucky to get 18 minutes some nights, whereas someone like Jimmy Vesey at Harvard rarely even came off the ice, 22+ minutes).

      Lastly Providence is also coached by an extremely defensive minded coach, as Mark Jankowski is the ONLY player in his four years at Providence to even crack 40 points. In his Freshman year no one even cracked 30 points. To futher put this into perspective, Tim Schaller (Jankowski’s old teammate at Providence) never scored more than 23 points at PC. He has now played 35 NHL Games and has 0.76 PPG in the AHL this season.

      All of this considered I honestly I have a hard time not seeing Mark Jankowski end up as “worse case” a Bottom Six, Two-Way Centre.