Flames Jolt Draft with Jankowski

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Mark Jankowski, 21st overall pick by the Calgary Flames, poses for a portrait during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Flames did not make the biggest move of draft day, that accolade goes to the Penguins & Hurricanes with the Jordan Staal trade but going off the grid to take Mark Jankowski was a surprise.

Some were outraged the Flames traded down to recover their 2nd round pick. In my view this is a very defensible move, in fact it is a move I personally support. Given the players taken in front of the Flames, I expected it.

A lot of anticipation was there but 1, 2, 3, the names Flip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko and Radek Faska quickly disappeared.

The announcement of Mark Jankowski did shock me though. It was not a pick I expected at 21st overall.

His counting stats are meaningless in my view because he was playing against high school competition. The Flames have taken a risk here, in some ways Janko is comparable to Johnny (Pocket) Gaudreau in draft philosophy. A pick the Flames were mocked for last year because of his size, he was the shortest player taken in the entire 2011 draft.

At the time the usual "the Flames have lost their marbles" comments widely circulated. In the next year Gaudreau stepped it up with several awards and recognition. He was an important player in Boston College's success and won the Bill Flynn Trophy for MVP and the Beanpot MVP.

Pocket Gaudreau may become the Pocket Rocket, instead of just the Pocket and may, just may be a little Theo Fleury 2.0. Jankowski, well, in my view these kind of picks are not made in the first round. It is just too much risk. I was just fine with Johnny G in the 4th round, but Janko in the first round? I would have been fine with Janko in the 2nd but not at his placement, the Flames moved him up on their list obviously because they felt they would not get him in the 2nd round.

The first round is usually where you make the safer picks, the ones where you cover your bases, hedge your bets so to speak. The Flames passed on Olli Maatta who would have covered all those bases. It was the pick I was hoping for, given what was left on the board and a solid choice, given the Flames had traded down.

It was a shock to me personally to see Jankowski picked.

It is the kind of pick that will make or break someone's career, whether that is Jay Feaster, John Weisbrod or Todd Button or whoever was driving the bus on it. It appears based on interviews that this kid is Weisbrod's pick and if he busts, well John Weisbrod may be back in the NBA in 7 years.

Todd Button answers to Weisbrod as Assistant GM.

Here are some links on Jankowski and the Flames usual press and interviews on it. I have a few comments along the way but judge for yourself.

Flames go off the board with Jankowski (CBC)

John Weisbrod's interview


Weisbrod is clearly very high on Janko, clearly enthusiastic and commenting that he feels he got a kid who will go in the top 5 next year.

Feaster makes yet another big, bold comment in the post-pick TSN interview. Suggesting that in ten years Janko will be seen as the best player from this draft.

Feaster clearly going all in here because the fact is, those kind of comments are never forgotten.

If Janko doesn't emerge Feaster may be permanently out of NHL hockey and doing media work in the NHL in 5, never mind 10 years. You just can't get away with that kind of bluster. We already have Feaster on record for his "Write it down, the Flames are going to make the playoffs" prediction miss. Time will tell on this one.

The selection, the shock, the after-shock and in commentary how the Flames have gone off the board and it is a defensible move according to TSN commentators.

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