After trading their 14th overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st pick in the first round and the 42nd pick in the second round, the Flames have selected centre Mark Jankowski in what certainly appears to be an unorthodox move, with names like Sebastian Collberg, Olli Maatta, and Pontus Aberg still on the board.
Here's what Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman had to say about Jankowski via Twitter:
Jankowski is a home-run pick. Has legit first round tools, potentially a very good puck-possession guy if he pans out.
Jankowski has good puck skills, above-average if not high-end hockey sense. Quality of competition scares people, but he's very talented.
He's certainly several years away. Jankowski needs a ton of strength and will need experience at faster paces. A risk/reward selection.
I ranked Jankowski 36th based on several uncertainty factors. I think his raw tools are certainly top 20 though.
After they traded down, I fully expected the Flames to take a defenceman and was pleasantly surprised that Maatta was still around, but there's no denying that they also needed a centre. Most players that the team could have picked at this point in the first round likely would have been a "project" pick, which Jankowski is, but I can't help thinking that some may have been closer to being NHL-ready than others.
More to come as I gather more information and form a more solid opinion on this pick, but in the mean time, here's Pronman's write-up of Jankowski.
Jankowski is committed to Providence College in Rhode Island (NCAA) for the 2012-13 season.