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|
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|