It's time to rewind back a couple of years to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, when the Flames went completely off the board and chose Mark Jankowski with the 21st overall pick. He was projected to go somewhere in the middle of the second round as he was ranked 43rd overall among North American skaters. Some notable players from the 2012 draft class currently making strides in the NHL are Cody Ceci, Olli Maatta, and Tomas Hertl—but if you ask me, it's way too early to judge whether Jankowski is a draft bust or a steal.
Born: September 13th, 1994
Height: 193 cm (6'2'')
Weight: 79 kg (175 lbs)
When Mark Jankowski was first drafted in 2012, it was assumed that he would not play in the NHL for quite some time, and his early pick caused a lot of confusion. When I was watching the draft and Jay Feaster came up to announce that the team had chosen Jankowski, I was wondering one thing, and one thing only: what the heck just happened? With players like Brendan Gaunce and Olli Maatta still on the board, why did we choose a player who should have been picked in the second round?
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/r3sCn2ftn48?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/R7EB5L2enxc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Even to this day I am skeptical about Feaster taking Jankowski so early in the draft, and throughout the league the players in the same draft class are flying high with their respective teams. Heading into a rebuild which has seen Calgary acquire players such as Sean Monahan who make an impact much sooner, I realized that it doesn't hurt to have other players who require a few more years of development. If you look at Jankowski's statistics over the past few seasons, he does not really seem like the type of elite prospect that you would expect from a former first round pick, but it was enough for Hockey Canada to invite Mark to their junior camp for the 2014 World Junior Championships. Apart from that, Mark has shown great improvement when he came to the Flames Development Camp over the summer.
"Well, I'm just trying to work as hard as I can and get to the NHL as quick as I can and help this team win. I've been at school at Providence College down in the states and I've been working really hard, working out and getting bigger and stronger..."
Mark Jankowski shows tremendous talent at both ends of the ice, playing a well-balanced and two-way game. He also possesses great offensive prowess with his highly skilled playmaking and stickhandling: he can find open teammates to set up a quick goal and help his team win. Jankowski has a wonderful work ethic, growing more and more each year and trying his best to get the muscle to fit his tall, 6'2'' frame. With Jankowski gaining more confidence and improving his gameplay, he may become the type of center that the Flames can use in the long run.
Like I said before, Jankowski's got a nice frame, but not much bulk to go with it, which was one of the reasons he did not get a chance to play in the OHL. Taking into account that the average weight for a forward in the NHL is 202 lbs, give or take, Jankowski will need to step it up a notch if he hopes to be on par with rest of the NHL. Along with his bulk, scouts say that he will have to improve his skating and faceoffs skills, perfecting his two-way game and getting better at playing the centre overall.
Joe Nieuwendyk, Travis Zajac, Brandon Dubinsky