Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FlamesNation player evaluation: Mark Jankowski

After a wait that was seemingly only surpassed by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ wait for a Stanley Cup, Mark Jankowski finally arrived to the Calgary Flames’ roster in 2017-18. After a stellar American Hockey League debut in 2016-17, Jankowski stepped into the Flames’ everyday lineup in late October and never left.

The Flames’ 2012 first rounder didn’t blow the doors off the NHL or anything, but he was a rock solid third line center for the duration of the season – an impressive feat as a rookie.

2017-18 season summary

Jankowski had a strong training camp, arguably the strongest camp of any Flames forward other than perhaps Dillon Dube. But with a certain number of centers signed to one-way deals, and an early-season roster crunch caused by the signings of Jaromir Jagr and Tanner Glass, Jankowski was dispatched to Stockton, never to be seen or heard from again.

Luckily for him, that wasn’t the case, and Jankowski had a superb first three weeks of the AHL season with five goals and eight points in his first six games. That was enough to earn him a call-up to the NHL, and he ended up flip-flopping roster spots with Glass while Sam Bennett was mercifully shuffled to the wing. For the remainder of the season Jankowski played primarily with Bennett and Garnet Hathaway – the notion behind Jankowski’s presence seems to have been “here’s a center that can take care of things and get Bennett going offensively” – but he also played with Jagr a bit, too. Who can forget that game where Jankowski scored his first NHL goal when a Jagr rebound went in off his pants?

Thankfully, he scored 16 better goals than that one.

Games played Goals Assists Points TOI/GP 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% rel OZS% PDO
72 17 8 25 13:21 51.17% -3.59% 58.92% 0.986

Jankowski was ninth among regular forwards in average ice time. He was fifth among forwards in goals, though much of that was powered by his four-goal outburst in Game 82 against Vegas. But hey, he scored four goals in a game against a team that might win a Stanley Cup – that’s not nothing.

He played third line center exclusively, though he did gradually get time on the second power play and penalty killing units. He took the third-most faceoffs on the team and won 48.8% of them. He was the worst regular faceoff guy by percentages, but he won more draws than Matt Stajan because he took a lot more of them.

Compared to last season

This was Jankowski’s first full NHL season, but it continues a nice progression dating back to his draft year. He was a really good Quebec prep school player, then went through four years of college (moving from bit player to NCAA tournament all-star), then was a key piece for Stockton as a rookie. At his age, continued progression is nice to see.

What about next season?

Jankowski’s a restricted free agent this summer. Given his lack of NHL experience at this point, it seems likely that he’ll get a short-term deal to show what he can become. His floor seems to be as a perfectly fine third line center, but perhaps his progression can continue and he’ll show that he can be more?

#5 – Mark Giordano #7 – TJ Brodie
#8 – Chris Stewart #10 – Kris Versteeg
#11 – Mikael Backlund #13 – Johnny Gaudreau
#15 – Tanner Glass #18 – Matt Stajan
#19 – Matthew Tkachuk #20 – Curtis Lazar
#21 – Garnet Hathaway #23 – Sean Monahan
#24 – Travis Hamonic #25 – Nick Shore
#26 – Michael Stone #27 – Dougie Hamilton
#33 – David Rittich #36 – Troy Brouwer
#41 – Mike Smith #44 – Matt Bartkowski
#61 – Brett Kulak #67 – Michael Frolik


  • Squishin

    So many question marks on that third line! What can they become?
    Once the third line starts catching fire, the Flames will be much closer to a contender.

  • Speed Kills

    Thank you Ryan for a positive Hockey write up on Jankowski and his future outlook. Very refreshing to read.
    It will be interesting to see this kid under Peters and with whom he will be playing with and in what rolls he will be asked to play. NHL Experience and ice time will go a long way (Not his birthday) in determining how good or bad this kid will turn out to be. Hopefully we keep seeing positive improvements in his game this coming season.

  • Cheeky

    I think Janko will become a great all around player for us. With some of the trade proposals on here lately, if given the choice between him and Benny, I choose Janko to keep (have a feeling his ceiling is going to be higher)…

  • FL?MES

    Janko has taken his time to get this far and he has gotten incrementally better each season. I think he has more to prove and wouldn’t pigeon hole him as a third line centre yet.

  • Oyo

    Ideally I think Jankowski gets some help driving the line. He doesnt strike me as a guy to carry it but has to tools to finish the plays when they happen at a decent level. Poor mans Monahan with better (slightly?) defense. I would like to see what something like this could look like for next year..

    JG – Monahan – new RW (straight offense)
    Tkachuk – Janko – Bennett (50/50)
    Ferland – Backs – Fro (true defensive third line)
    Prospect – Shore – Lazar (?) – options here

    I think that’s the optimal if we can get that RW.

  • Korcan

    This next season will tell us a lot, but I think Jankowski has potential to be a consistent 20(ish) goal scorer, and with better finishers on his wings his assists should also go up. I don’t, however, see him going beyond 50pts per season, and if he can solidify his 2way game, I’m okay with that.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    People continue to under estimate Janko. I may be a bit biased but I think his potential is a top 6 forward. I base this off the fact he was our top scorer in pre-season (tied with Johnny for goals). He packed on some muscle and had his best camp essentially winning a spot.

    As a player that struggles to pack on size he came in to camp at 215 lbs and was a force. However, the wear and tear of the long NHL took its toll on him, not unlike other highly touted College players like Vessey. He played on a line that struggled to generate offense so more pressure was put on him and Bennett and at times the struggled.

    If you look at his small pro body of work it is hard not to be optimistic. For some unknown reason he was locked in as the 3C but did not have any third line quality wingers. I know he played with Bennett who is touted as a top 6 forward but that Bennett has not lived up to the hype.

    When the games did not have the same meaning later in the season he was not moved to a different line until the last game. In fact, Shore was given top line minutes ahead of Janko who had scored 13 goals up until that point. We all know what happened in a meaningless final game against Vegas. However, this was the only chance Janko had to show he is capable of playing on the top line. As I recall, Vegas was using this as a tune up for the playoffs and played its top line. So, Janko could go from scoring 4 goals in a meaningless last game of the season to perhaps the only player that scored 4 goals in a game against the possible Stanley Cup champs….seems like more than semantics.

    Janko has a full arsenal, great skater, soft hands, good hockey IQ and a great shot. He even showed a bit of grit at the end. Outside of the goal off his pants, his other goals were skilled goals. With the right linemates like Matty, I see him as a top 6 player with a big offensive upside. He has out scored a player like Debrusk in both the AHL and NHL with virtually no PP time. I am expecting him to have the greatest point differential vs last year of any Flame player.

    • freethe flames

      From the time we drafted him I have taken a wait and see approach and before I pronounce him a top 6 forward I want to wait and see. Generally I am in full agreement with what you have said. He indeed has a full arsenal but what needs to happen is he has to bring it on a nightly basis. I also noticed a bit of grit later in the season on a number of occasions I saw both the push back and even occasionally he instigated some physical play. The key will be the right line mates. I think a guy like Tkachuk is ideal for him; high skill, high iQ and an attitude which could inspire Janko to be a little more engaged. The question is who would be the other winger and as things sit I’m not sure. Can Tkachuk play RW well enough to allow either Bennett or Mangiapane to be the LW or do they need to find a RHS that will fit the bill. Like you I remain hopeful he continues to progress.

  • Lazarus

    At his age continued progression is nice to see? I thinkthat’s putting it mildly. If there was no progression most everyone would be harping and crowing that hewas as they said..a flop

  • Garry T

    Jankowski will have a fifty plus points season this year with Tkachuk and Ferland or Dube. Write that down. When he realizes he belongs the sky is the limit for this guy. In three years time or less, he is your number two center.

  • Just.Visiting

    Well, that was certainly one of the more positive articles about Janko that I’ve read on here. Thanks for that.

    I love the hockey IQ, defensive awareness, hands, size and the grit he was showing late in the season.

    There are two areas of significant opportunity that I see. The first is to grow into his body by bulking up more during the summer so that he can use his size more effectively. When looking at the normal development path, I think it’s important to recognize that there are always exceptions. In Janko’s case, he really needed to bulk up a lot to use his frame optimally, where he’s still a work in progress in that regard.

    The second is that his level of intensity looked highly variable. On some shifts, he looked like a first line centre. On others, he looked like a fourth liner. It would be great if he could bring the same level of intensity as Bennett, for example. Say what you might about Bennett, but the effort is always there, and he’s aggressive in the offensive zone on the check. (The playoffs have also reinforced to us that we need to be faster and more aggressive on the forecheck if we want to move to the next level.)

    GG did many puzzling things over the last two years. One thing I was shocked that he didn’t try after seeing the great dynamic on a give and go on a shift that resulted in a goal was to try MT with Janko and Bennett to try to create at least a 2B line.

    If we want to be a serious contender, I think we need to look beyond Backlund and Frolik as the second line cornerstones and look at them as the foundation of a great third line (perhaps with Dube?) and see if the Janko-MT-Bennett line could blossom as a second line.

  • Baalzamon

    So for some reason Brady Tkachuk is everyone’s favorite target for if the Flames somehow acquire an early first… But what about Oliver Wahlstrom? A large right handed winger who, unlike Tkachuk the Lesser, has posted highly impressive results.

  • ALowry

    He’s played one full season of NHL hockey… I think it’s too early to say the kid doesn’t have top 6 potential. The potential is there. He’s already proven to be a capable 3rd liner with questionable linemates (Hathaway etc).
    I like the suggestions going around of moving Frolik down to the 3rd line with Jankowski and someone like Ferland or Mangiapane, leaving a 2nd line of Backs, Bennett, and Tkachuk.
    I know Mangiapane is still a rookie but what’s to stop him from getting a shot on the top line with Monahan and Gaudreau in training camp? He needs top 9 mins, really hope Peters doesn’t feed him crap 4th line minutes this year.

  • RKD

    There’s a lot to like about Janko’s game he’s a smart guy has size but really what impressed me the most were his hands he made some sweet moves on his goals. He did hit a bit of a lull for a while but came back, I think he’s going to show us a lot more. Even though he’s been pegged as a 2-way center he can score. 17 in 72 is solid in your first year.

  • freethe flames

    This discussion on Janko’s potential continues to highlight the need for BT to add at least 1 top 6 RHS and a solid middle 6 RHS. Doing so would allow BP many options and should help in the development and progress of both Janko and Bennett. We will see what BT can get done in the off season.