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The Flames haven’t forgotten about Mark Jankowski

Jaromir Jagr is a Calgary Flame. The 45-year-old National Hockey League legend was officially signed earlier this week with much fanfare and ballyhoo. While the Flames were finalizing things with Jagr, 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski surprisingly did not make the team.

Jankowski was probably the most consistent forward in training camp – and in a group with Dillon Dube and Tanner Glass as the most impressive Flames in camp – but was likely the victim of the numbers game; he’s waiver exempt this season and was simply the easiest forward to cut in order to get the roster down to 23 players earlier in the week. But given how much he was brought up by general manager Brad Treliving following the Jagr announcement, don’t think Jankowski is gone and forgotten.

Speaking on Sportsnet 960 The Fan following the press conference at the Saddledome, Treliving framed the signing of Jagr as a result of a few young players disappointing in camp. He seemingly went out of his way to emphasize that he wasn’t talking about Jankowski:

We went into camp with a couple of spots open, a couple of chairs open if you will, for people within the organization to grab. Mark Jankowski in my mind is ready to play in the league and he will be in the league soon. You get to the point, what he’s done is put himself in a position to get back to Calgary quickly.

Speaking to the media in Edmonton before the season-opener, Treliving elaborated on his thoughts about Jankowski’s NHL chances:

He’s ready to play. He’s now just got to wait for his opportunity. Usually early in the year you sometimes have more guys than you have spots for, but ultimately the guys who are supposed to be there end up there. I think you’ll see him back fairly soon.

If Jankowski’s ready, how come he’s not in the NHL right now? Well, he’s unfortunately slotted behind four more established centers in Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan. Given he’s only in his second year as a pro, and that he’s still waiver exempt, there’s really no reason to bury him in the press box or use him on the fourth line when he could be a key player in Stockton.

Given all that, when’s Jankowski going to get to the NHL? Most likely when somebody gets hurt, somebody gets traded or when performances progress (or regress) to the point where Bennett or Stajan get bumped to the wing (or in Stajan’s case, the press box). Given the comments from Treliving, he’s probably the first player recalled to Calgary should they need some additional offense injected into the lineup.

  • WillyWonka

    Glad to see we aren’t wasting good young talent on the 4th line. Every good gm and coach knows that a 4th line needs to be slow bruising checkers that aren’t fast and definitely not a threat to score. Mission accomplished!
    And besides, prospects should know they WILL get their chance, once they are traded to Vancouver

  • Theo4HoF

    Janko is definitely better than Stajan. Stajan at his best is a 4th liner and who knows what Janko’s ceiling is, he might be better than Monahan for all we know. Management look like a bunch a donkey’s on this one.

    • Toofun

      I’m cutting management some slack on this one. If Beloch and some of the other rumors are right and part of the cost of trading Brouwer or Stajan is that Janko goes down for a few games, it will be worth it.
      In fact, even if they can’t pull this off, it’s still worth the try.

      Apparently, things like this are a process…

      • KPal

        You keep saying that. And yet why would LVK take your garbage without an incentive (draft pick that Flames no longer have or prospect ) The fact they need forwards is not enough. All kinds of low level forwards available in and out of the league that don’t have the extra baggage that come with Burden.. (contract length and cost)

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I agree. Other teams like Boston make room for top 6 players by putting them in a position to succeed. Janko would be better served as a third line winger than playing in the AHL. Toronto did the same with Kapanen but they have a lot of young wingers for him to climb. I really want to be a Johnny fan but I don’t see the spark anymore. I was hoping he would hit the gym and work on his sot but he refuses to shoot. Too many interviews with him saying he would like to finish his career close to home soured me a bit.

  • beloch

    One would assume Brouwer is as unhappy playing on the fourth line as Treliving is to have $4.5M of cap hit parked there. My guess is that Brouwer is being shopped around, likely with maximum salary retained by the Flames. Once he’s gone Jankowski seems like a prime candidate for a fourth line spot.

    I wouldn’t rule out a Stajan trade either, although this seems a bit less likely.

    • Puckhead

      Troy put himself in the position of playing on the fourth line. He’s actually very lucky to be playing at all based on his lacklustre play during his tenure with the Flames. Anyone with a normal job would have been punted long ago.

  • The Doctor

    I take issue with two things Ryan says:

    1. Calling Stajan an “established center”, as though this justifies keeping him over Janko. The only thing Stajan has “established” is that he’s slow, decidedly lacking in offensive skill and inferior to Janko (as was clearly evidenced by their respective pre-season performances).

    2. “Should they need some additional offense injected into the lineup.” News flash: we already DO need that. We scored ZERO goals the other night, and got massively outshot and out-chanced. #freejanko

  • freethe flames

    After Bt acquired Hamonic were we not told that the “Flames were in the competitive”. If management believed this with both “TheBurden” and Stajan as every night players they did not watch the last 20-30 games year. Unfortunately none of the kids (with the exception of Janko and onecould argue Dube) pushed the old guys out. This now becomes a coaching and management issue; do you continue to believe in vets who are clearly struggling to play or do you go with young guys who may struggle but will improve. It’s clear that the coaching staff and management believe in vets and most of us fans lean the other way.

  • Newbietwo

    Wait for his chance? ?? Are you kidding me?? I thought we were done with the Sutter days!

    Treliving knew all off-season this was more than likely the case that Brouwer sucks for $4.5 million and that’s jankowski can do better than Stajan for us. Now Stajan is left with $3 million plus and Jankow at 22 is left in Stockton.

    Wait for his chance.. give me a break.

    • Kevin R

      Here is real elephant in the room & Ryan heads to that room then stops talking about it. I quote” there is really no reason to bury him in the press box or use him on the 4th line when he can be a key player in Stocton”
      Ok, what is wrong with that sentence? Anybody? Even next year when Stajan drops off the roster, if we resign Backlund, the best Janko can do is 4th line centre. So WTF!!! Put Janko on the 4th line now or move Bennett or Monahan to the wing now & make room for Janko on the 3rd line. Everyone wants the best 4 lines going but it just doesn’t fit, decisions have to be made & I am not sure why this isn’t being addressed & the roster isn’t being constructed accordingly. Something has got to give.
      I guess I am still burning over that loss on Weds & how far we are away from actually feeling like we legitimately can contend. I wanna win a Cup dammit. The way this lineup is constructed, I have some real concerns:
      -I think Bennett is better suited to centre Gaudreau & Ferland, small sample size but when I look at the players games, it makes sense.
      -the 3M line may have been rockstars last year, but maybe that was just a career year for that trio. They didn’t do a whole heck of a lotto my eye test on Weds. Personally nobody did other than Smith. I’m still pissed.
      -Maybe let’s try Janko centring for Monahan & Tkachuk on a line
      -Keep Backlund & Frolik together, maybe move Ferland to this line & put Jagr with Gaudreau & Bennett
      -4th line whatever, Glass, Stajan & Brouwer seems to be the option based on salary.

      Sorry, I don’t like losing to the Oilers & yeah yeah it’s one game, but I would like to see changes to that lineup.
      Happy Friday everyone!

        • Trevy

          I thought his name will start surfacing soon, yes I agree too sadly. The problem with Johnny is not is he not producing, but he’s not even noticeable on the ice particularly in the Edm game. I know this is only one game, but at least get noticed. He seems to shy away from playing against the bigger teams and that has me worried. I know I’ll get trashed for this, but it’s my opinion, I’d be listening to anyone who presented a good package for him. Spitballing here, but Simmonds plus wouldn’t be so bad. To probably take it up a notch, I’d be listening to offers for Brodie as well since we have an abundance of dmen and could probably get a good haul based on his age and contract. Really need another Manson type dman back there. Again IMO

          • Newbietwo

            It’s been a consistent theme with Johnny for three years now and I have said it time and time again if he cannot produce consistently while mainting some sort of D game then he is better of being traded for a high end true first line winger which he is not and never will be

        • The Doctor

          Johnny has a couple of things that Stajan and Brouwer don’t: a recent history of prolific offensive production for the Flames, and lots of talent and skill.

    • Cheeky

      Gotta agree. Sutter was terrible GM that sold the farm on these well past-their-prime vets (great coach though). Apart from the top 6 pick forwards that we desperately needed, BT is pulling the same crap (not clearing out the deadweight and regularly signing these vets). It would work if we had a forward thinking coach that gave real opportunities to the prospects that deserved it. Each year we seem to finally get out from a bad contract and buy out others, just to have more come on board…#freethe prospects #givenneverearned

  • The GREAT WW

    Weren’t we told that Brouwer took a discount to play for the Flames?!

    What’s all this talk about retaining max salary?

    The Blues would be lucky to get him back. And send a draft pick our way….

    WW

  • Parallex

    I feel a fourth line of Stajan-Jankowski-Lazar would outplay most 4th lines in the NHL resulting in better zone starts, changes on the fly, and even strength scoring.

    Glass-Stajan-Hathaway/Brouwer… not so much.

    • TurkeyLips

      What a situation. Guy decade older than him was brought to shore up RW, his position.

      He spouts production and a need for it. At RW. Ya whatever. He’s such a veteran coaster, can’t stand these plugs degrading the NHL and the quality seen on the ice.

      Call me malicious but this league isn’t going to compete squarely against MLS/MLB/NBA so long as it has a fetish for overpaying + overplaying suspect veterans that are far beyond their duedate. Fans are getting sick of it on every team.

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Yeah I saw that too. It was very discouraging to see Brouwer talk, what he says.

        But we should ease up on the bashing, maybe. After all, he’s not ending this season with a Flames jersey.

        Brad is simply to aware and too shrewd to let that happen.

          • SoCalFlamesFan

            Even if it was an overpay, I don’t think many people could see him collapse this fast. From what I have read people “at least” expected him to be able to play NHL level.

          • BringtheFire 2.0

            I don’t think Brad had full autonomy when Troy was signed. I believe others influenced that decision because it’s very much out of character with how Brad works.

        • madjam

          In defence of Brouwer : His contract amount I will not elaborate on , as it is excessive . ON notorious for running goats out , but they take a back seat to FN when it goes after several at a time . Brouwer one of those players that brings more than scoring to the table . He has never been much of a scorer to be honest throughout his career and more a supplementary player than a leader . He had a career lowest points last year from 33 to 25 I believe . He was also straddled with an underachieving Bennett who only produced 1 more point in 6 more games than Brouwer , and both had 2 points in the playoffs . Ferland on the other hand had a career high 25 points and no playoff points , and he gets on first line . Why ? Will he not pull down Money and Gaudreau making them less effective ? Most of FN seems to want to give AHL players their jobs and expect them to score and contribute way above those they might replace . Not to many Flames players had a banner year last season as your probably aware . If your able to replace Brouwer that is fine , but you had better hope the replacement can fill the vacancy far better .

          • KKisTHEproblem

            I get what you’re saying, I would only add hat MF has most of his points once he was put on that 1st line and his corsi for was excellent. So, he was driving play all year and then started to score once put on that line

        • Mr. J

          @bring the fire 2.0

          Well well well…. I should have known you would break our little deal we had in place:)
          It’s ok I gave your licks to a few other upset fans instead.

          • BringtheFire 2.0

            Hey dude!!! I didn’t break the deal!! I was on ON and offered my opinion there!!! You can go see and feel free to say your piece now, dude…we didn’t lose to you, though.

            You beat us. You played better and we were out-coached and out-battled.

            Congrats!!

      • Cheeky

        @Turkeylips – you could even add the CFL in as they run it like a business, if a younger guy brings more than the old vet, gone is the vet. Stamps stay competitive each year by replacing these past-their-prime guys with up and comers…end of the day it’s a business and until BT and GG realize this, we will never hit that next level…

    • freethe flames

      He says all the right things but never suggests that he needs to work harder and be better. To “The Burden” talk is cheap(actually at $4.5m it’s not)

  • Trevy

    News flash…Stajan has already regressed, its only because he’s a healthy veteran on a big contract and overall nice guy that he’s still playing. This type of thing has to stop. Bold decisions have to be made doin and not wait till the standard “20 game benchmark” to determine changes. By then we’ll be behind the proverbial 8 ball…yet again

    • The Doctor

      Exactly. Zero goals our first game. Ya think we couldn’t have used Janko’s offensive skills against Edmonton the other night? When we were basically offensively inert?

    • Atomic Clown

      Feaster awarded Stajan that contract, at a time when we had no Monahan, Bennett, and Jankowski was a gangly little teenager. And Backlund had yet to cement himself as consistently great and not be injury prone

      • Trevy

        Sorry but it was Burke that signed Stajan to a 4yr extension after Feaster was let go. Stajan was already 30 at the time and extended him 4 more years. I guess this is why Treliving wanted full control when he was resigned!

      • freethe flames

        BB signed that contract. Don’t blame Feaster for things he did not do, blame him for the things he did do fine. This contract is on BB. “The Burden” is on BT with influence from BB.

        • oilcanboyd

          Blame Feaster/Weisbrod for having the courage to stick with getting Janko in the first round and seeing the growth potential of the scrawny kid? I still chuckle when I compare what Janko ws then and what he grew into!

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        It seems to me Feaster gave Stajan the contract to help the team hit the floor for team salary. I did not understand why this was done at the time. I don’t dislike Stajan but he is clearly blocking a promising player from hitting his stride.

  • freethe flames

    The key is how Janko responds to being sent down and how they use him in Stockton, he needs to be played in a way that forces him to become a more complete player. When he comes back up he is either going to play with Bennett which I think is unlikely or he will ask to center a 4th line which be asked to be a clone of the Backlund line, but for that to happen the Flames will need to also add more speed to the lineup.

    I can’t wait to here who he plays with in Stockton. Do any of our writers actually have contact with anyone in the organization to shed some light on this. I know Stockton’s Finest will give us an update once the game starts but it would be good to have some earlier insight. Even trying to get their entire roster is not easy.

    • Stockton's Finest

      The best person they could reach out to prior to the game is Brandon Kisker, the Heat broadcaster. I would assume he would have all four lines. Continue to check the Heat Twitter page as the game gets closer. Usually he is pretty active on it.
      Obviously, I will provide in-game comments (even though Mrs. Finest doesn’t like me to be on my phone during the game), but that is what intermissions are for.
      I will make comments on the most latest post from FN.

    • Puckhead

      Janko is already a more ‘complete’ player than half the players on the Flames roster. Now he just needs to be given an NHL job to prove his worth.

      Cue the guy with the freejanko hashtag….

    • DMac

      In Penticton, Janko played with Foo and Mangipane. I would like to see Huska keep that group together, which showed some chemistry in that tournament. Another potential RW for him would be Poirier, who may just be returning to the form we had expected.

      • Stockton's Finest

        Based on the preseason game, the Heat had Austin Carroll on the top line centering Mangiapane and Poirier. They had Foo with Shinkaruk with Cramarossa as the center. I would assume with Janko back, he centers the top line. And pushes Carroll to the 2nd line center. Klimchuk did not play the home pre-season game, so I would assume he gets 2nd line wing with Foo. That puts Shinkaruk on the 3rd line with Hathaway, centered by Cramarossa. That is if Hathaway is in town. If not, pencil Lomberg on that line.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      This sounds like Treliving just trying to calm the masses. The reality is that he likes Stajan as a person too much to waive him. He and his wife are big in the local charities, so sending him to Stockton wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, we also have a Hartley situation, where the coach is going to play the guys he likes, which is mostly vets. Lazar, whether or not is an effective player, is still better than Glass. Freddie isn’t a star player, but gives 100% every game he plays. Janko is easily far superior to Stajan in his skating ability, hockey sense, and skill level.

      Until the coach and GM get on the same page and ensure that the best players are on the roster, we will continue to see the unskilled but tough Glass, the likeable but now marginal NHL player Stajan, the soct as a kitten Brouwer, and the can’t make a breakout Bartkowski taking up space on the ice.

      • The Real Slim Brodie

        I think Strajan will follow the same path mcgratten and bollig did. Yes they liked them but he will end up in Stockton. Hasn’t anyone else seen this trend. They speak highly of the player but make no mistake they know already where they will end up.

        • The Real Slim Brodie

          I’m not just talking about Strajan either. Tre isn’t stupid he knows who can go and who can replace them. He has a plan in place beyond this year.

  • Zalapski

    I still don’t understand why anyone runs out a 4th line of plugs. I think winning helps teams find the energy they think they need from someone like Glass getting punched in the face. Rolling 4 skilled lines would help the matchup better than rolling 3 good lines and one awful one wouldn’t it?

    • Neddd

      @Zalapski

      Way way too much consternation and focus on the 4th line. A team does not win or lose based on its 4th line I’m afraid. Any marginal improvements to the 4th line with AHL/NHL fringe players is not going to result in any noticeable changes to the win/loss column……

      • Zalapski

        I’m just saying that the problem I see on a lot of NHL teams is that they usually don’t ice they’re most effective players. The 4th line should be positive possession players or at least be able to shut down lines they match up with without being complete liabilities in their own zone. Imagine if you will, icing 3 effective players that aren’t complete boat anchors, but may not be complete offensive juggernauts. Instead it seems teams like the flames put fringe NHLers and pugilists on their 4th line. Imagine having a 4th line of Poirier, Jankowski and Mangiapane. Sure they may be best suited playing top line minutes and in The AHL, but wouldn’t it be a decent use of their skill if they learned the big clubs systems and matched up against other teams weak lines? They all seem like they could be coached to be a defensively responsible, while giving you a lot more than what Stajan, Brouwer or Glass could give you. I won’t whisper Freddies name in the same sentence as those guys because I think he’s exactly what you want in a 4th liner, effective, hard working and moderately skilled, while not someone to make mistakes or take bad penalties.

      • Cheeky

        Actually in todays game it can make a difference – 1 goal for or 1 against could be a win or loss. If the other team scores regularly against 4th line and they don’t contribute to the score…I get that it’s the top players that contribute to 90% of game but you also need that 10% too…

    • MarbledBlueCheese

      The fourth line matters greatly.
      10-12 minutes is 20% of the game
      And a lousy line will be picked on heavily, particularly on the road.
      Hockey is a game of fractions and inches now–the salary cap has had that effect, and more teams are playing possession games. So, if you have a 4th line that is superior to others, that is a small advantage that over a season will equate to wins.

      • Neddd

        @MarbledBlueCheese

        Well we’ll just have to agree to disagree, especially when you’re talking about bringing in AHL players such as Jankowski and Larzar as the replacements. Jankowski did show well in the pre-season but I thought he looked rather ordinary in the last couple of games when there were more NHL level players. Also keep in mind, this is still a substantially slower pace compared to regular season games.

        Playing Jankowski perhaps might be best from a development standpoint, but thinking that he will be an impact player and influence the outcome of games is not realistic. In fact, in the short term, being a rookie he will be subject to a typical learning curve including rookie mistakes. M. Tkachuk’s rookie season should be looked at as the exception, rookies typically will not perform as well.

        • Cheeky

          So Ned if what you say about rookies is true, why even play them if they are going to make mistakes (because we all know vets never do right). Every player present or past was a rookie at some point and all made mistakes. Difference should be can this rookie and his potential mistakes outperform said vet and their mistakes…

          • Neddd

            @Cheeky

            I didn’t say to not play him. The point I was making is don’t have unrealistic expectations (i.e. that replacing Stajan with Jankowski will result in more wins). From a development and future perspective, of course teams need to play rookies. But the expectations being posted here I think are over the top, Jankowski is not going to make any real measurable difference on whether the Flames win or lose, at least not this year.

          • Cheeky

            @Ned

            I hear you mate, my take is we know what we have in Stajan but we dont (we can imagine) in Janko. He may fail but until given that chance…Can always play Stajan with him. I just see him bringing much more than Matt…

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      There are three prospect management decisions that I will always question:
      1) bringing up players like Janko and Andersson so they can sit in the press box while inferior players start.
      2) trading for Lazar and Lack while essentially blocking the path of deserving prospects like Janko and Gillies.
      3) sending down Janko after a strong AHL and try out so they could sign Glass

  • The Sultan

    I’m still in the camp that Jankowski is better served playing first line minutes in Stockton as the #1 guy, getting prime time on both the power play and penalty kill, as opposed to 8 – 10 minutes a night in a fourth line, sheltered role.

    It would be great to see him in the NHL, and I’m sure we will soon, but remember he has only pro season under his belt — lots of players have a good first year in the AHL but are unable to replicate/sustain that success the following year. If Jankowski can prove to be consistent, he will force the Flames hand. Until then, him being in Stockton isn’t the absolute worse thing in the world.

    • freethe flames

      The thing is I don’t believe that if the 4th line is centered by Janko that it would be as sheltered as you think. It would have a very different role than a Glass/Stajan/Hathaway line. Plus I think he would also get PK. Plus being here everyday his experience in practice will make him even more ready.

    • Cheeky

      Here is food for thought – what if we did same to Monny, Tkachuk, Benny (sent back to junior), and Gaudreau (to AHL) while keeping or adding washed up vets. These guys were ready, yes a couple hick ups but learnt to push past and are better off for it. Janko is ready, sports is very interesting as confidence has alot to do with how they turn out. Some are rushed and confidence is lost (look north and Lazar), others rot away in minors never getting a chance and losing their potentional. I dont think Janko will be affected but at some time we need to give chances to our guys that are ready and make us better…

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I would rather lose while developing our rookies that win playing out our vets bad contracts. More young players are breaking into the league and becoming impact players…. Look at TO.

  • madjam

    Can we expect Ferland to be as productive as Maroon has been for the Oilers ? Maroons best years was age 26 with Anaheim basically playing shotgun to Getzlaf and Perry . In 71 games -9G, 25A = 34 points . The next season , he had in 56 games , 4G, 9A=13 points and was traded away to Edmonton and also retaining some of his salary . This , despite his scoring well in previous two years in playoff . 13 G= 7 points and 16 Games= 11 points . He lucked out in Edmonton and got McDavid and finished year in 16 games with 14 points . Last year he got up to 42 points with an uncharacteristic 27 G and only 15 A =42 points . He followed that up with 13 game playoff = 8 points . Away from McDavid he’ll probably go back to the player he was most of his career . Now I do not find Mony and Johnny any better than Getzlaf and Perry are , and doubt Ferland will get anywhere near the production Maroon gets from riding shotgun with McDavid and Drasaitl .

    • Kevin R

      A tough comparison because no one on the Flames can touch McDavid & the bump he’ll give any ordinary player. Ferland needs to get back to what brought him the admiration of most Flame fans. I was on the fence on Ferland until that Vancouver series where he hit everything in sight & punished Bieska at every turn. Now I get it, that isn’t sustainable night after night in a the long grind of the NHL but did he make any crushing forechecking hits on a supposedly vulnerable Oiler defence? Nope. If Ferland brought his “A” game consistently, I don’t think anyone would argue he wasn’t a top line power forward. If he doesn’t, then I guess he’s at best a 3rd line winger.

  • Burnward

    Why does everyone act like this was expected?

    Janko blew the doors off. This is a good thing.

    But BT isn’t playing NHL on Playstation. Real people, real commitments, real repercussions.

    Everyone needs to chill and let the man work.

    • seamax

      I’m happy to let him work, but I’d have preferred that he’d accomplished that work during the off-season and during training camp, rather than after the games start to count and the Flames hamstring themselves by playing short of a full deck.

  • JohnnyHockey

    A lot of people are saying they want Stajan out in favour of Jankowski……When we have GLASS in the lineup!!! Stajan is actually decent when you don’t put a couple of trash cans beside him. The solution would have been simple had they not signed f***ing Glass. Stajan-Jankowski-Brouwer( I guess because they won’t scratch him)