Mark Jankowski has set his sights on the NHL

The world’s changed quite a bit since the 2012 NHL Draft.

Oil prices crashed. Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. The United Kingdom “brexited,” whatever that means. The Flames drafted Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett in the first round, and both made the jump directly to the NHL. Meanwhile, 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski was plying his trade in the NCAA with the Providence College Friars, biding his time.

Four years and a national championship later, Jankowski has an entry-level NHL contract and will finally be making the jump to professional hockey – following in the footsteps of a dozen players drafted after he was.

But aside from perhaps Monahan and Bennett, few players have had a full-time pro debut as anticipated among fans and hockey people alike as Jankowski’s. Following the end of his senior season with Providence College, the 21-year-old Ontario product had an eight-game, two-week American Hockey League appetizer in Stockton.

“I think it was just important for
me to go there and get a few games under my belt, it’s going to be
huge for me coming into my first camp,” said Jankowski after wrapping his on-ice sessions at Flames development camp. “I’ll know how pros act on and
off the ice and just what that pro lifestyle is like, playing a lot
more games than college. All that, just trying to take it all in, I
was trying to soak everything in when I was there and so, like I
said, for main camp.”

Unlike his four previous visits to development camp, Jankowski’s not headed back to Rhode Island afterwards. He’ll be preparing for a full pro season. Given that he and fellow 2012 draftee Jon Gillies are both at their fifth camp, he’s embraced his status as elder statesman.

“I’m trying to be a
leader here,” said Jankowski. “This is my fifth camp so I’m trying to show the younger
guys where to go, show them the ropes and everything, show them how
to act on and off the ice. Just trying to take a little more of a
leadership role and get ready for main [camp].”

Let’s be blunt here: Jankowski follows hockey and owns a computer. Heck, he spent four years in a pretty good school. He’s likely well aware that many players from the Flames organization have made their way to the pro level (and the NHL) since he was drafted. But he’s also seemed keenly aware of his own development in his previous stops in Calgary for these camps, and he’s remained patient as he’s matured and developed.

“I’ve had to have a pretty good
mindset,” said Jankowski. “I know that everyone develops differently and I knew when I
was drafted, I wasn’t going to come in right away and make the team. I
knew it was going to be a process in development, so I was just
taking it day by day when I was in college, trying to work as hard as
I can every single day – whether it was in the gym, whether it’s
how I eat, how I sleep, practicing on the ice, it’s every single day
that development. I think I’m there now.”

It’s been four years since Jankowski was a first round pick. He’s played a ton of hockey and has worked really hard (on and off the ice) to improve. His eight-game, six-point performance in Stockton last season might be an aberration. But regardless, he seems hell-bent on having a strong training camp and has set his sights on making the Flames roster when the season opens on October 12.

“I know it’s going to have to be a
big summer for me training-wise and on the ice, off the ice, working
on all aspects of my game, but I feel like if I work my butt off I
can make that jump,” said Jankowski.

Jankowski has been patient with his own development. And he seems aware that he’s arriving to professional hockey fashionably late. But he also seems intent on making up for lost time.

  • TurkeyLips

    Could everyone take that stick out their bum and clean the sand out their sheets?

    We got over 90 days till the season people, I know it’s hard. But petty comments suck and make reading this board an eye rolling affair. Lighten up folks

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Jankowski should make this team and Calgary should be strong down the middle. 4 good centers but someone is going to the wing cuz you can’t have Backlund or Jankowski playing on the 4th line.

    Not Quite as good as McDavid ,NUGE ,And Draisaitl , but good none the less

  • PrairieStew

    Let’s have Janko play a year in the AHL and then we will see. Hopefully he can make Matt Stajan redundant as early as next year, and if he continues to grow be able to do third line minutes should we not be able to keep Backlund and Bennett.

  • OKG

    People are going to be offended by the truth and trash this post to hell but the forward on the Flames with the skillset least suited to centre is Sean Monahan. Moving him to RW would make the Flames a cup contender.

    Tkachuk-Jankowski-Monahan

    Gaudreau-Bennett-Brouwer

    Shinkaruk-Backlund-Frolik

    • Kevin R

      From the games I saw at the Dome Monahan was getting better & better on the dot & was winning a lot of key face-offs near the end of the season. I don’t see a problem with him as one of our top 2 centres. The only issue is if Bennett is better & Monahan is the #2, Gaudreau & Monahan have such amazing chemistry, would really like to keep them together & that puts Gaudreau on the 2nd line. Either way, a good problem to have.

      • OKG

        While winning faceoffs is nice, I don’t consider it a primary centre duty as even poor faceoff guys can make amazing centremen and strong faceoff guys can make poor centremen. I see Monahan as a Pavelski/Backes type more than a Bergeron (Bennett) or Kopitar (Jankowski) type. I mean nothing negative when I say I believe Monahan will make a fantastic winger. His game will open up with a guy like Backlund or Jankowski handling centre duties, and wingers still take many a faceoff. But yes, having four legitimate top 6 centres is a great problem to have

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          I have never really thought of Monohan as a winger but I could see it working. I am not to sure he would win enough board battles to be effective. Personally, it would be tough to move him when he continues to improve. I do however like those 3 line combinations.

  • mattyc

    tbh I think jankowski makes gaudreau monahan and bennett all expendable. he’s that good.

    Seriously guys, if you forget he was a 1st rounder, and squint he’s a maybe NHLer, not Kopitar, a Backlund replacement or Monahan’s future C. Let’s stay a little grounded in reality here.

  • I actually agree with most of what DD is writing (minus the attitude). I have said it all along and would LOVE to be wrong. jankowski will be lucky to make the NHL. If he does, he will top out as a 3rd liner. Just as DD has mentioned, there are NO stats that point to something different. The only thing that does are subjective opinions from people that may or may not have seen him play. Are there outliers? Sure and I hope that he is one but I bet if you look at many that follow the same path as him stat wise you wouldn’t find many impactful NHLers.

    If he wasn’t taken in the first round we would all be saying the same thing in that it doesn’t look that promising for him to be an impact player in the NHL.

    • cberg

      Whether he makes it or not, and what becomes of him remains to be seen, which is the exact same we can say for every prospect.

      For myself the best things about Jankowski are his A/ steady progression year over year, B/ led his team to a National NCAA Championship as a Junior, was named All-Tournament All-Star and outplayed #1OA JEichel in crucial championship game, and C/ once signed with Stockton last Spring he played 8 games down the stretch and scored 6 pts and pretty universally was noted as Stockton’s best player over that period.

      A lot of this is “What have you done for me lately?” or “rising to the occasion” which to me are pretty critical in evaluating progression in a quickly-developing player. On the other hand if you want to utilize years-old stats that’s your prerogative.

      There is no RIGHT answer here. We will see what we will see.

      • piscera.infada

        As a matter of fairness, no one is saying “Jankowski definitely won’t make it” . The argument is simply that based on players who put up comparable numbers, at comparable ages, he still is not trending as a sure thing. As the most vehement poster on this thread said, “outliers exist” . Perhaps Jankowski is the outlier, perhaps what many say about his team extremely deflating his totals is correct. I personally have not seen him play outside of those 8 games in the AHL last year, and thr odd NCAA game. He looked decent, but that’s a tiny sample size. I hope he works out, but all I can go off is comparables.

        That said, the over-the-top arguing against anyone who says a good thing about the kid is starting to get extremely taxing.

      • DoubleDIon

        Bill Arnold has a bigger impact on the national championship Eagles squad than Jankowski did on the Friars. To say Jankowski led his team there is just erroneous. Gillies was the key player. Hard to lose when your goalie puts up a .952 save percentage in the tournament.

        • OKG

          Huh? Gillies’ SV% was not .952 in the tournament, it was .926 which by NCAA standards is very unspectacular. Gillies got 4 goals of support in every single game in the tournament, that’s why they won.

  • Thunder1

    Over the past two seasons, Monahan has scored more points than all but 25 other players in the entire league…

    He’s only getting started.

    His winger and BFF is in the top 15.

    Anyone who says he needs to become a winger is daft. Monahan and Gadreau are going to end up better than Perry and Getzlaf and those two won a Cup together.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I agree that 17 yr old 6’3 156 lb Mark Jankowski was a long shot to make the NHL. But, 22 yr old 6’4 205 lb Mark Jankowski is not only poised to make the NHL but is looking like he could be an impact player.

    There really is no point, trying to convince the haters. When a player improves in all 4 yrs in the NCAA top level of hockey competition capping it off by winning a national championship followed by a PPG final season, he must be doing something right. And, when this player shows up at the last 2 Flames Developmemt camps and clearly separates himself from his competition, it is clear that the haters will need to find a new whipping boy.

    • OKG

      Not just a PPG, but 0.895 Primary Points per game.

      Had he gotten some luck with secondary assists (1 secondary assist for each primary assist) he could have been 1.40 PPG but Providence was not a great place to rack up 2nd Assists.

    • DoubleDIon

      Me too. It’s pretty much par for the course. Every fan base has a large percentage of fanboys. It’s nice showing them their previous comments the next time they start pumping the tires of average to above average prospects.