A Jankowski hat trick leads Flames prospects this weekend

The hockey season is starting up rather rapidly throughout the world. European teams have begun their regular seasons. Canadian major junior teams are a few weeks into their seasons. North American minor league teams are into the meat of the training camps. College teams are just getting underway.

In short? We finally have some substantive prospect updates to share.

Mark Jankowski had a hat trick in Stockton’s 3-2 preseason victory over the Tuscon Roadrunners on Friday night. Playing on a line with Andrew Mangiapane and Matt Frattin, all three were said to be quite good. Jon Gillies made 19 saves for the win.

Stockton lost 3-1 to Bakersfield on Saturday night in their exhibition finale. Mason McDonald made 19 saves and Stockton drastically outshot the Condors, but Brett Pollock was the only Heat player to score a goal.

Everett’s Eetu Tuulola (upper body) and Kelowna’s Dillon Dube (lower body) are both week-to-week with injuries. Victoria’s Matthew Phillips has three points in five games. Medicine Hat’s Nick Schneider is undefeated in four starts with a 2.24 goals against average and .921 save percentage.

Boston University’s Brandon Hickey had two assists (one primary, one secondary) in BU’s 6-1 season-opening win over Colgate on Saturday. Colgate’s Tim Harrison had a primary assist on his team’s only goal. Harvard’s Adam Fox had four assists (one primary, three secondary) in their 5-2 exhibition win over the US National Development U18 Team.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Way To Go Jankowski(and Kudos to Andrew Mangiapane and Matt Frattin)…. on the flip side, The Mason McDonald pick is really starting to look like a dud. Hope he can find his game and get a W at some point. Where does he go if he gets booted from Stockton? ECHL?

    • Stu Cazz

      Yah it is not looking good for McDonald…it’s been well documented that Thacher Demko (former teammate of Johnnie at Boston College) was the obvious choice…IMO with the Flames drafting Tyler Parsons they have lost confidence in McDonald…with Gillies, Parsons and Schneider our young goalie prospects look amazing for the future….

      • beloch

        The competition for crease-time is pretty brutal. We’ve often heard that a huge part of a goalie’s struggles is just to have confidence in himself, even right after letting the puck in. Well, the team has to have confidence in him too, and that’s not so easy to build up.

        Joni Ortio played pretty well late last season. As a Turku goalie from the same pedigree as Kiprusoff, he’s a guy who could figure things out late and be a NHL starter yet. A short spell of bad play early last season, which he did recover from, sealed his fate. At least for now, and with the Flames. He’s 0.922 in 4 games in the SHL, but I’m willing to bet a NHL club will roll the dice on him within a season or two, provided he plays well wherever he is.

        Mason McDonald didn’t look as good as Parsons or Gillies in the pre-season. That’s why we might see the same statistical performance spun differently for him. The voice of reason says that the preseason is the perfect place for goalies to get ready for the season and shake off a little rust. A few meaningless goals in the preseason shouldn’t matter that much to anyone’s career. Except, they do when you’re trying to build an organization’s confidence in you. McDonald failed to do that while the Flames top brass were all watching. It’s not the end of his career, obviously, but it is a setback.

        The real problem for goalies in a system that’s packed with good prospects is finding enough ice-time. Ortio promised to be good someday, but just didn’t develop fast enough. Mason McDonald is still a solid prospect and it’s far too early to tell what his ceiling is. However, Gillies has clearly won the battle for the starter position in Stockton. McDonald might be a #1 goalie prospect in another system, but he’s probably going to have to go to the ECHL to get the crease time he needs to develop. This is a crucial season for him because, if Parsons continues to impress and turns pro next season, McDonald may find himself playing backup minutes, which would put him at a huge disadvantage.

        Bottom line, when an organization invests as many high picks in goalies as the Flames have in recent years, some very promising kids are going to be forced through the cracks by the pressure. Will this pressure cooker of talent produce goalies as good as a system that takes more of a slow-cooker approach? Ortio wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did if the Flames had made drafting goalies a priority a few years earlier. Some goalies figure the game out at a fairly advanced age, but the Flames simply aren’t going to develop that kind of goalie with their current approach. However, the Flames overall chances of developing starters may have gone up with the pressure cooker approach. While it’s a shame to see talent like Ortio flee the organization and concerning to see a prospect like McDonald sent all the way to Adirondack, Gillies and Parsons show tremendous promise.

        Personally, I’d love to see the Flames figure out some kind of deal with a KHL team or perhaps a team in another top European league. The ability to give your goalie prospects minutes in high quality European leagues without first forcing them out of your organization would solve a lot of problems.

      • The Real Slim Brodie

        It’s also well documented that the flames like to choose a goalie every second year. Last year they did not and elected to sign Schneider instead. That is why parsons was picked this year not because that have lost confidence in a goalie still new to the system and still a young goalie aswell.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      If you think the questioning of McDonald’s ability is based off this One Game you’re greatly under estimating the Hockey integrity and commitment to following and researching the Flames Prospects here on FN … McDonald struggled both last year be it a week team in Charlottetown Islanders or the Acadie-Bathurst Titans before, or even Team Canada for that matter. His Prospects camp & preseason were noticeably less than average VS All the Other goalies there. So No one is jumping the gun in Questioning where he is at right now as far as his goal-tending is considered.

      • piscera.infada

        I don’t disagree necessarily with anything you’ve said here. I would argue that successful QMJHL goalies generally have lacklustre statistics, let alone QMJHL goalies on absolutely wretched teams.

        I would also say that McDonald outplayed Blackwood at the WJHC. That’s a low bar, but he should have been the starter. In form true to Hockey Canada, they made up their minds long before camp broke.

        Finally, I would say if you subscribe to the “goalies are voodoo” argument, then I think when drafting said goalie you’re looking for raw ability or something inherent in their play. I’m not saying McDonald has those things, but in no way am I qualified to scout a young goalie.

        We can make the Demko-McDonald argument all we want, but with both Gaudreau and Arnold at Boston College in Demko’s draft year, you can’t claim they didn’t get eyeballs on him. There would have definitely been scouting there. I would have definitely preferred Demko to McDonald, but I can only make yhat claim based on to-date statistics, in different leagues, and different teams. It’s hardly academic.

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          Totally agree with you, All I was pointing out is McDonald is having a rough go right now. I hope he can turn it around sooner than later and has lots of success in the future but right now I don’t think he is good enough for back up duties in Stockton. I’m not writing him off or suggesting he was a bad draft pick(Lets face it almost every draft pick is a roll of the dice eg:Yak?)But right now I think his play is behind the other goalies in the system which could possibly hurt the confidence and growth of the developing Heat players, that’s all. Cheers! Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂

      • OKG

        So did Brossoit a few years ago. He has dominated the AHL since, like we can only hope Gillies will. Gillies’s at 20 was not even playing pro hockey. ECHL is a higher level of play than NCAA. McDonald playing ECHL is far from a bad thing, he will get his own net just as Gillies will. But there do exist those folk who wrote off a guy like Brett Kulak when he was assigned to the ECHL while I maintained he was (at the time) our best blue line prospect.

  • Dale Denton

    I fully support management to use a high pick on a goalie they love in the draft. Never a first rounder but since goalies are such a integral part of the game, why not choose the one you want and select them before anyone else does.

  • jakethesnail

    One thing that you cannot lose sight of is that not all draft picks will make it to your NHL team. You find a gem (like Gilles) and win big. You find another gem (like Parsons) and win bigger. You draft MacDonald and he struggles, cannot find his confidence, may never find it…. You can say the Flames should have taken Demko, he is not in the NHL yet either.

  • Koolmoedee

    McDonald was a poor pick not only because there was a better goalie prospect available, but because the Flames spent a second round pick on him. Goalies are hard to predict and require much longer development time. They’re not worth spending high picks on.

    If McDonald busts, it’s not the end of the world. Goalie prospects often bust but it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to get a goalie.

    More than half of the starting goalies in the NHL last season were acquired via trade, and none of them were onerously expensive.

    Schneider, Bishop, Rask, Jones, Elliot, Talbot, Mason, Varlamov, and Luongo, are just some of the names.

    You can’t get a number one centre or defenceman anywhere near as cheaply on the trade market.