75

FlamesNation Mailbag: Youngsters and next year

The Flames have a bunch of youth options for next year and a coach that has a history of turning them into offensive weapons. A couple of young guns, if you will. I bet that name has never backfired.

Ian Clark, for those unfamiliar, was the goaltending coach in Columbus and has been by Sergei Bobrovsky’s side for two Vezina trophies. His contract is not being renewed and he is now a goalie coach free agent.

The hype and bluster around goalie coaches is disproportionate to their actual measurable impact. Goalie coaches, like many of the other various assistant coaching positions, have such vague job descriptions and are at the mercy of the tools they have to work with that it makes performance assessment guesswork. Judging current goalie coach Jordan Sigalet on the basis of “goalies were good/goalies were bad” cuts a lot of the nuance away.

The Flames didn’t have great goaltending this year, that much is fact. They had a great half year under Mike Smith unless he was injured and then had to rely on Eddie Lack (two okay seasons, disastrous since) and the AHL duo of Jon Gillies and David Rittich, who had four combined periods of NHL hockey heading into the season. How can you accurately assess Sigalet’s coaching with that many variables? Was anyone expecting him to turn back the clock on Lack? Was anyone expecting him to turn Gillies and Rittich into an immediate 1-2 punch? If you’re honest with yourself, the answers to both are no.

Even if you go through his career in Calgary, he’s had new goalies to work with every year, most of them being either question marks (Brian Elliott, Karri Ramo), old guys who are more than likely to fall off a cliff (Smith, Jonas Hiller), career backups (Chad Johnson, Elliott in some regards), or the young and inexperienced (Joni Ortio, Gillies, Rittich). Let’s not forget that many of those goalies fell in more than one of those categories. It’s not entirely fair to judge Sigalet on the basis of management bringing him a bunch of goalies whose careers hover somewhere between below average to average and expect him to turn them into Vezina winners.

(If you want to go back further during his time in the AHL, Sigalet worked with Danny Taylor, Leland Irving, Henrik Karlsson, Barry Brust, and Olivier Roy. Not exactly promising goaltending talent.)

If we go back to Clark, he’s had a Vezina winner in Bobrovsky. That could be used as evidence that Clark is a goalie whisperer, but also evidence that Columbus has a great scouting team; Bobrovsky was a highly touted KHL keeper before coming to North America. Guys like Joonas Korpisalo and Curtis McEllhinney have had extreme highs and lows under Clark. Steve Mason was destined for the garbage bin under Clark, but has enjoyed a nice bounce back away from him. Perhaps he’s actually bad? Again, we can’t measure that. The data points towards goalies being more responsible for their performances than their coaches.

If the Flames sign Clark, he might push the goalies to greater heights. He also might not do that at all. The volatility at the goaltending position makes it impossible to certainly say which would happen. If there’s one thing for certain, however, it’s that he can’t save Smith from being 36 next year, which is what’s most likely going to impact his performances than Sigalet/Clark’s coaching.

Bill Peters was more or less forced to use kids on defence in Carolina. Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, and Brett Pesce broke into the league at 18, 21, and 21, respectively. Hanifin was a clear-cut blue chipper, but the other two were supposed to be long term prospects that were brought up to speed under Peters.

This bodes well for Brad Treliving and co., who likely brought in Peters just as they are bringing in a whole new bottom six that is locally developed. The future defensive setup could be Hamilton-Giordano, Valimaki-Andersson, and Kylington-Fox, which could happen as early as one year from now. If you have a coach who has had nothing but success with young defencemen, it certainly makes sense to give him a bunch of young defencemen to work with.

For the meantime, I think Peters will be confident trotting out a bunch of youth in the bottom half of his defence next season. He’s made his name doing so, and it fits his style more so than Michael Stone in the backend.

His track record of using young forward talent is the exact opposite.

It’s uncertain how much of that is in his hands, though. The Hurricanes generally spend their high end picks on defencemen (three of their last six first round picks have been defencemen, and two of those have been top 10 picks) and their lower picks on forwards, so there’s less talent in their forward pipeline. Their better young forwards, like Viktor Rask, Elias Lindholm, and Sebastian Aho are some of the only youth they play that’s worth a damn. Otherwise, you have those middling players like Phil DiGuiseppe and Brock McGinn who are pretty much only involved because Carolina doesn’t want to pay for higher end talent.

And in the end, it might not even be in his hands anyways. The final decision rests with Treliving. If Flames management feels Dube is ready (excluding elite first rounders like Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk, the Flames have not had a kid jump from the CHL to the NHL since Dan Quinn. Not great for Dube), they’ll leave a spot open. But they’ll also keep some PTOs and UFAs handy, just in case. It’s the same logic that gets Tanner Glass in Calgary, but that’s the logic they stick to for some reason.

I still think Dube makes it, for what it’s worth.

I don’t think the thing holding Morgan Klimchuk back is the coach, but the fact that he’s just not that good.

I like Klimchuk, but he appears to be stuck in neutral at the AHL level. He’s a fine top sixer who struggles with consistency in that league, which makes him unattractive for those who decide his chances at being an NHL regular. Is he better than Garnet Hathaway or Curtis Lazar? Probably, but not convincingly so.

He seems to fit the Peters mold of a responsible two-way player, but that has yet to be proven at the NHL level. Maybe he’ll get a shot, but I’m not expecting much. He’s a fourth liner if he pans out.

Like 10%.

The caveat to trading Dougie is that you need to replace him with another Dougie. The Flames do not have another Dougie. Their RHD depth behind him has significant drop-offs, meaning that they only have three pro RHD behind him and one of them has only played 11 NHL games. Another one of them is Stone, so you can see why trading Dougie is an extremely bad idea. If you trade TJ Brodie, you at least have a few options to supplant him. With Dougie, you do not.

I think the Flames would entertain the idea to the extent they entertain most trade ideas, insomuch as they can get a great package in return. If they don’t get an elite NHL forward in the same age group, a higher-end prospect, and a few picks out of the deal, they should hang up immediately. If you’re a Toronto fan reading this, Kasperi Kapanen and Josh Leivo are not enough. Throw in William Nylander and we’ll start talking.

He’s a 3C.

An easy comparison to make is Sean Monahan. Despite being from different draft classes, Monahan was born Oct. 12, 1994 while Jankowski was born Sept. 13, 1994. If Jankowski was born just three days later, he’d be in the same draft class as Monahan. You can easily put the two in the same boat on the basis of age, as they aren’t even a month apart.

With that in mind, let’s look at where they are right now:

GP G A P 5v5 TOI/g 5v5 CF% 5v5 CFrel% OZS%
Monahan 74 31 33 64 13:38 54.74% 1.94% 57.64%
Jankowski 72 17 8 25 11:13 51.17% -3.59% 58.92%

At the same age, Monahan is just that much better than Jankowski. One is quite clearly a first line centre, and the other is quite clearly not.

The caveat being that Monahan has had five years of NHL experience, but age is more important than experience. Jankowski may just be a rookie, but the clock does not start ticking when you hit the NHL, the clock starts ticking when you get drafted. From what we know about aging curves (two-part article), skaters typically peak around their age 24-25 years and then start gradually declining. That does not bode well for Jankowski, who is turning 24 in September.

Perhaps there are those who view him as the next Backlund, as the current 2C broke out in his late 20s, but that’s also likely untrue. Here’s Backlund at 23 versus Jankowski at 23:

GP G A P 5v5 TOI/g 5v5 CF% 5v5 CFrel% OZS%
Backlund 32 8 8 16 12:58 50.90% 4.57% 45.04%
Jankowski 72 17 8 25 11:13 51.17% -3.59% 58.92%

Backlund didn’t break out, he was an underappreciated asset on a very bad Flames team (his age 23 year was the lockout shortened 2013 year. His most common linemates were Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka). He didn’t get better with age, he was always a good player in the wrong situation. When coaches clued into the fact that putting Lance Bouma, Kevin Westgarth, Brian McGrattan, etc, etc with Backlund was not the optimal use of the player, his counting numbers went up. Fancy, that.

The same cannot be said of Jankowski. He and the third line in general were tasked with an offensive role and were a net negative on the Flames’ performances. He’s not underappreciated like 23-year-old Backlund, he’s just not in the same ballpark (skating rink?).

One final point of comparison could be Joe Colborne, a player who also first saw regular NHL action at age 23 and also shares a few descriptors with Jankowski (big first rounder developed through the college system).

GP G A P 5v5 TOI/g 5v5 CF% 5v5 CFrel% OZS%
Colborne 80 10 18 28 12:12 45.44% -1.29% 50.62%
Jankowski 72 17 8 25 11:13 51.17% -3.59% 58.92%

Again, Colborne was on a much worse Flames team (worst ever by draft position finish), but still outproduced Jankowski. That does not bode well for someone who is turning 24.

Is it possible he bucks the aging curve? Perhaps, but his performances throughout his career have indicated that he’s not likely to be much more than a 3C. You may be able to expect better things from Jankowski next season, but he probably won’t be much more than just a better version of what he was this season.

  1. Top six RW: I love Micheal Ferland too, but you have to admit that he’s not a top line RW over the course of a whole season, or even for half of a season. When he’s not on the ball, Johnny Gaudreau and Monahan are quite clearly picking up the slack with mixed results. If the Flames can find someone who can consistently score, they can free up Ferland to move up and down the lineup, which is a benefit to the bottom six.
  2. Make room for kids on D: after top six RW, there’s not really needs, but just things that would be nice to have. The Flames should make it a priority to trade Stone for anything, as Andersson was better than him at the halfway point of last season. If one of Juuso Valimaki or Oliver Kylington are ready (or both! I’m not picking sides), you have to consider dealing Kulak and…
  3. Brodie: unfortunately, that means you have to ditch Brodie. He’s been a soldier, but is quite clearly not the same as when it was just him and Gio. You can blame being moved back to LHD (which isn’t that convincing given that he played LHD all throughout junior and pros up until he had to play RHD out of need), but really, it’s just that he’s not that great when you consider all of the Flames’ options. He could feasibly be replaced by Kulak next season, and Valimaki and/or Kylington in the next two seasons.
  4. Bennett: another luxury you can afford to deal away, but I’m not all that for it. Bennett has been going backwards since his first year, which is understandable. He went from playing with two of the team’s best possession drivers to two 30+ wingers and then two AHLers. Every year, there appears to be a new, inexplicable problem which doesn’t get better year after year. But he’s still a reliable thirty point scorer who has promising bursts that look like he’s found his junior magic again. For another year at $1.95M, can you really complain?
  5. Goaltending: the Flames have three goalies already. They can stand to upgrade, or at least have a backup plan in case this three-headed monster doesn’t work out, but paying big bucks for one this offseason doesn’t make sense.
  6. Gio: still good. Perhaps on the old side and seemingly about to fall off, but he can stick around until that actually does happen. It appears he’ll get shuffled down the lineup when Juuso Valimaki and Oliver Kylington mature, so it’s not that big of a deal.
  7. Acquiring a pick: someone wrote into the mailbag and then deleted their tweet regarding trading up to get a pick, so I guess I’ll answer this here. No, they probably shouldn’t do it. The draft isn’t that great outside of the top 10, and any team with a top 10 pick is unlikely to trade it away, so offering NHL assets to get a potential middle six guy in three to four years isn’t worth pursuing.
  • Honkydonk

    I disagree with your assertion that Jankowski will peak as a 3C.

    Jankowski has power play and penalty kill ability and this was his first year in the NHL.

    Jankowski as far as I am concerned will be an NHL 2C and a solid one at that. It’s impossible to tell just what a player is until they’ve completed 3 years in the NHL and especially at that position

    • FL🔥MES

      Maybe put Janko with Johnny and see how many points he gets before making point total comparisons with Monahan. Monahan is also a one-dimensional player whereas Janko is a multi-tool who was also saddled with a dogs breakfast of line mates this past season.

    • Jankowski is a pretty good special teamer. His work with Hathaway on the PK was a pleasant surprise and I think the powerplay probably could’ve scored a few more goals if they at least tried him at the half-wall or on the off wing. He’s one of the few true snipers on the team and it’s a shame they never honestly tried it for more than a few games.

      It’s his 5v5 work that raises alarm. Among regular forwards, he had the fourth worst possession numbers which is yechh when you consider the company. There’s nothing wrong with being a good special teams player, but a 2C has to do more than play in those situations. You can safely call Backlund a 2C because he does good work in all of those areas. Jankowski still has time, but early results suggest that he’s lagging behind in that category relative to how undisputed top six players perform at age 23.

      • BendingCorners

        If Janko can’t hold his own at 5-on-5 in sheltered circumstances then he isn’t a 3C he’s a 4C. I agree with the other posters though, give him another year (this coming one) to gain the necessary experience and then evaluate.
        As for Bennett, I like him but I think he needs a change of scenery. Right now he ranks behind Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Ferland and Frolik on the depth chart at LW, and both Mangiapane and Dube will be pushing for a spot. If the Flames do get some decent RHS RW, then there could easily be no room for Bennett since Ferland and Frolik could move back to their natural side.

  • Flamethrower

    Lets hear it for Swift Current Broncos MVP Glen Gawdin leading the team to be The WHLs champions. Also lead the league in playoff scoring.
    So I say well done guys and give them hell in the Memorial Cup.
    Could be a nice scoop by Tre snatching up Gawdin, I’ve been watching his progression for a while now and he keeps steadily moving forward. Being a RHS center/winger that can score could maybe an answer to some of our problems up front. Also 6’1” and 200 lbs at 21 he is still growing.
    I have the same gut feeling about this kid as I did about Johnny Hockey as I fallowed his career though college hockey.

    • cjc

      I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but look at 20 y.o.s that have scored at a similar rate to him in the WHL. I’d give you a list of recent names, but the TL;DR is that the chances he pans out are maybe 1 in 10. Of the 28 20 y.o.’s that scored at least 1.3 points/game in the WHL since 05-06, only 3 have gone on to significant NHL careers (Tyler Johnson, Troy Brouwer and Matt Calvert). If you arbitrarily limit it to guys that scored 1.42 p/g, it’s maybe a 1 in 5 chance.

      Gawdin was dominant because he was older. Nothing wrong with that, but very few guys like him end up in the the NHL. Gawdin’s WHL numbers in his final year were better than all 3 of those guys, but he was also the oldest of the 4 – he turned 21 before the regular season ended!

      • McRib

        Glenn Gawdin had 1.0 PPG at 18 years old and 1.13 PPG at 19 years old, while batting injuries both seasons. I watched him fairly regularly during
        those two years he was clearly never really 100% and didn’t have a lot of help either. Therefore he isn’t as big of a flash in the pan 20 year old as the critics are suggesting. I’m not saying he’s going to be an NHL star, but I wouldn’t completely write him off as an NHLer well.

      • freethe flames

        I kind of see Gawdin as in the same category as Foo; lets see what he does at the next level. Of the 3 forward prospects(Dube/Phillips/Gawdin) I have him as #3.

  • Cheeky

    I was never fully sold on Janko when we drafted him but watching him in his rookie year (sorry CT but experience counts more than age), I think he might turn out ok. When put with good linemates (Johnny / Chucky) he was quite good. How does Colborne have better stats – 7 less goals in 8 more games (yes 4 in 1 game still counts)…

  • Korcan

    Good mailbag. Regarding Jankowski, this next season will tell us a lot about just how well he can be. Yes, he was an old rookie last season, but he was still just a rookie — it takes time to adjust to the pace of play, regardless of age. Hopefully, we see further development and consistency this season. He will be heavier and stronger, which should make him more confident with and wighout the puck. He definitely has enough raw talent to evolve into a good number two center, or at worste a very good number three. I ignore the Colborne comp

  • FL🔥MES

    If Klimchuk is slightly better than guys like Hathaway and Lazar maybe he should be on the roster. An extra point here and there can make a big difference.

  • Nick24

    On Jankowski, It’s rare for players at his age to take any big steps forward. Don’t get your hopes up on him getting any better than he’s been. Maybe he has some utility on the PP, but this is probably the top of Janko’s ability.

    • JMK

      I’d also caution against declaring Jankowski will become a good 2C, as he is a bit older in development terms; however, we’ve yet to see Jankowski’s development curve stall or slow down. Bar between his 2nd and 3rd year in college, where by all accounts his defensive responsibilities went up, his counting stats showed only minor improvement, he has improved year on year. Now his AHL sample was relatively small, and his NHL record is only one year but I’d also caution against declaring he won’t keep improving just because of his age. Even take a guy like Brad Marchand (not comparing his quality to Jankowski) who has become a PPG (and more) in his 29th and 30th years when prior to that struggled to hit 0.8ppg. The peak years for players can be different even if the average is 27.

    • cberg

      Jankowski has measurably improved every year since his mid teens. With his hockey pedigree and record of improvement as a late bloomer I think he’s still got a ways to go.

  • Rudy27

    Still haven’t given up on Bennett playing consistently to his potential with the right line mates , but even if he just stays as a serviceable 3rd liner, he plays with an edge that too many on this team are missing.

    • MDG1600

      I’d like to see Bennett utilized differently – he should be more of a net front presence guy whose job is to bounce 15 goals a year in off his ass, because lets face it – he just isn’t a sniper. You don’t have to be 220 lbs to be a good net front guy. Anyone remember Dino Cicarelli? And Hornquist in Pittsburgh isn’t big. Neither was the Holmstrom in Detroit. I think Bennetts best game is to be a greasy pain in the butt – I think he is having trouble navigating how to do it without taking so many bad penalties.

  • cjc

    Top 6 RW was the second most pressing concern last offseason (after a goalie), but instead Treliving spent picks on Travis Hamonic. Now I don’t dislike Hamonic as a player or person, but it was an overpay.

    If they are going to get said top 6 RW, the discussion probably begins with Valimaki, otherwise they’ll need to empty the cupboard.

  • Joeyhere

    Not sure I agree with your Jankowski assessment
    That’s the problem with Stats you can find ones to show you whatever’ you want. Lazars showed him as a sure fire thing, Marchand’s after his first nhl year could be compared to far more failures then elite players. More then stats, Janko should also be judged by the way he performs and the eye test. You may be right in the long term but He has too much talent to declare his ceiling a 3c now. It’s too early to cap him like that

    • deantheraven

      Nail on the head, Joe. More Stats people should watch more games. The eye test is provable- and reprovable- with video. I’m in Europe so I have a subscription to nhldotcom. I’ve watched plays, saves and mistakes over and over. And over again on YouTube. The Video Don’t Lie.
      Statistics represent patterns in the randomness of men playing a game. Stats don’t lie, but they hold only historical interest for me. There is still too much subjective analysis in corsi. If I was betting on a game, I wouldn’t spend too much time comparing corsi and “scoring chance” data. If you want pure statistical data, Goals For/Against, goalie streaks, scoring streaks, are computable and irrefutable. There are too many variables every night: injuries- disclosed and non-disclosed, line combinations and match-ups, even ice time differentials provide for an infinite number of possibilities in all statistical categories. In the end, it’s like being a Hollywood actor. You’re only as good or as bad as your last showing.
      Jankowski didn’t have too many bad showings in his first year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue to develop into a strong two-way centre.If his special teams play continues to improve, it won’t matter if he’s 2C or 3C. I’m excited to see what Janko brings to camp next year. I see 3C as Jankowski’s basement. Who knows where he’ll fit with Peters. That’s why we watch the games.

      • canadian1967

        That’s the point Christian, you say “Lazar was one of the worst possession players last year and has been generally awful throughout his career. The eye test was the thing that gave people hope about him. The eye test was the thing that gave people hope about him.”

        I get tired of trying to argue this point, but honestly Curtis Lazar looks like an NHL player out there.
        He makes good decisions defensively and forechecks hard. He actually looks like some of the Vegas players with his quickness and compete level. I think Lazar would be just fine on our 4th line.

        Corsi be Damned!

  • freethe flames

    Two major articles on this page; the discussion on Janko and the need to add a top 6 RHS. Put me in the hopeful camp on Janko; I am hopeful he will be part of the 20/20 club next year. Here’s why; I think he will be given a chance to play with some more offensively gifted players; remember he played much of the season with Hathaway a 4th liner 13th man and Sam Bennett who has yet to find any consistency in his game. If we don’t add a major piece I would start with Janko and Tkachuk as a pairing.

    As far as adding a top 6 forward who is a right handed shot there are two choices from the UFA market; Perron and Vanek. Perron will want more money and more term whereas Vanek should be able to signed for less term and less money; this would buy time to see how Gawdin and Phillips develop and it would also allow Foo to push for a job. Barring that the question is can TJ get the Flames a player in the top 6; I think so but it might cost a little extra and it might not be a RHS. There are teams who could use a guy like TJ and have some surplus forwards. I also believe that there will be some surprising RFA’s who become UFA’s because of cap issues. One team with a real shortage of NHL D is the Rangers. Would K Hayes make us better? (LHS who has played RW and has a history Johnny and is Tkachuks’ cousin) I also think Florida could move a forward as they have plenty of them. Teams like PP have cap issues and a number of middle 6 forwards who are RHS that could help, the same can be said for Washington and if they loss Carlson they might really want a Brodie. In the end it’s up to BT to meet the teams needs.

  • Off the wall

    I believe our FN members know a lot about hockey, and that just shows through the comments.
    Excellent thoughts.

    I agree about Jankowski, saying he has a limited ceiling as a 3rd line Centre is not absolute, nor an accurate depiction of him.
    A rookie is a rookie, regardless of age. His abilities to read plays and be in position is something that Colborne didn’t possess.
    Btw, I still like Colborne and I wished he would have had success in Colorado.

    We are desperately needing a top 6 player, I know we love Ferland, but his inconsistency is hurting his chances to make top 6.

    As far as Sigalet is concerned, I hate to say this but we need to rid ourselves of bad voodoo.
    Sorry Sigalet, it’s not you, it’s us, you can get another job coaching goalies in China.

    My bad…

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    2018 Vision on Forward:
    Brodie and Lazar for Reinhart AND Stone and Bennett for Kapanen and a Second Round Draft pick OR Nylander alone.

    Gaudreau-Monahan- ?
    Ferland-Backlund-Tkachuk (3M line)
    Dube/Mangiapane-Jankowski-Foo
    Frolik-Versteeg/Lazar-Brouwer

    Note: Ferland plays better on the left wing I.e. Ferland’s goals in the 2016 playoffs were from the left wing

    Did Tkachuk play right wing in Junior with Marner in the middle and Dvorak on left wing the year Tkachuk got drafted? Tkachuk is intelligent enough to do that again

    Dube might make this team but he should not be on the fourth line unless it’s a scoring line on a four-line team.

    2018 Vision on Defence:
    Giordano and Hamilton
    Kulak and Hamonic
    Valimaki and Andersson
    Kylington (7th-defenceman)

    Brodie has been traded
    Stone has been traded for a Second Round draft pick and to make room for Fox at the end of next season

  • Garry T

    Christian, what a load of drivel.
    1 They are not going to trade Dougie
    2 Jankowski chose the high road and completed University.
    He spent very little time in the AHL and was a top point getter in terms of scoring stats league wide. This coming season he will have put some muscle on and he is going to score 30. Write that down.
    3. We need right wing help. It is available in free agency. Go get it.
    4. They can go after JVR, Perron, they can make a move on O’Reilly in a trade. There are going to be a few people moved due to cap issues. Fully 50 percent of Bettmen’s teams have poor attendance figures and financial difficulties. There will be players available for teams that spend at or close to the cap. We will improve our roster. But the cup is five years and 10 players 6 ft 3 and 210 pounds.
    5. Sigalet is crap. Tell me which Tender has improved under him. He prefers
    Goaltenders work on their knees. 90 percent of goals against our goalies both in the AHL and NHL are over our tenders shoulders. Give me a break and stop with the crap. Pull the to 50 free agents available this year. There are Forwards and D available. Look it up

  • everton fc

    Random thoughts;

    Tkachuk is so good, he should be the first line RW. To me, Tkachuk is not only a first line player, but the answer to the first line RW, if Ferland is moved.

    Bennett-Jankowski-Ferland would be another line I’d like to see, but what about Bennett-Backlund-Frolik? Then, maybe Dube can be converted to the wing, and you have a line of Ferland-Jankowski-Dube, or maybe Foo is that 3rd line RW? And I agree – Jankowski’s floor, is 3C.

    They should also find a way to unload Brouwer. I’d rather have Hathaway on that 4th line, RW, or even LW, than Brouwer. Hathaway’s a good special teams player. He also plays w/an edge – something we lack.

    Kylington is not our 7th defender. This should be Wotherspoon. I’ll be disappointed if this isn’t even considered.

    I wonder if simply seeing what Peters can do with most of what we have, is not a bad move. No Jagr. No Stajan. No Stewart. Jankowski in his second year, like Kulak, both getting full seasons. You move Tkachuk up to the first line, keep Ferland w/Jankowski… The big move should be Brodie and ?, for a first, but I think they’ll hold onto Brodie and try to punt Stone. Andersson’s ready. We need to make room.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Janko reminds me of Ry Jo. Once Ry Jo packed on some weight and was given legit wingers you could see his offensive potential. Janko was not getting knocked off the puck at the start of the year because he packed on the size from the summer. But you could see he has a hard time keeping weight on with a long grinding schedule.

    I like Bennett but I don’t think he has shown that he can be a high end winger or Center. He does not have the ability to drive play and it showed at times when the line struggled. Janko had to tread lightly as a rookie but that will not be the case next year. I think the club Was hoping that Bennett and Tkachuk would be our next dynamic duo but it likely will be Matty and Janko.

    IMO if you treat Janko as a 3C or 4C that is exactly what you will get. If you want a player to crack your top 6 then you need to set the table for him to succeed. The way I see it, Janko finally got top line minutes in the last game of the year…and he crushed it. He did not get any gift passes from Johnny for open net goals, instead he flourished because he knew he belonged. The end of the season came at the worst possible time for Janko and the organization. I think they should put him on the top line with Johnny and Monny as a Center/winger or play him at Center with Matty. How many other players like Bennett were gifted top line minutes with nothing to show for.

    Before we proclaiim Janko as a perennial bottom 6 player, let’s try him with the big boys for more than 1 game. It seems like his audition should not be understated. After all, it happened in a nothing game bur Vegas was using it as a rehearsal for the playoffs. When you see players like Marshessault, Karlsson, and Schmidt were bit players on their previous teams, it would be pretty silly to pigeon hole players like Janko and Mangi based on such a small sample size.

  • Cheeky

    I’m all in with replacing Sigalet, even in the article it shows he has had no success (except for AHL which is probably his coaching ceiling). Bring in this Clark guy who at worse will match Sigalets poor mentoring…