Prospect: Mark Jankowski
Hometown: St. Catharines, Ontario
Acquired: Drafted 21st Overall in 2012 (1st Round)
Team: Stockton Heat
2016-17 Stats: 8 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 PTS, 2 PIM, +4
Mark Jankowski had a good little introduction to professional hockey last season. After finishing up his NCAA career with a season of 40 points in 38 games, he signed his NHL entry-level deal with the Flames and an amateur tryout with their AHL affiliate, Stockton, to get his first taste of pro hockey while the season wrapped up. It went quite well, he posted 6 points in 8 games and by all accounts was utilized in a wide variety of situations with the Heat battling for a playoff spot. For a prospect that has been so controversial, that is a pretty good way to come in and start to silence some critics.
Jankowski’s success has continued into this season. He was one of the best forwards at the Penticton tournament on a line with Matthew Tkachuk, then got a bit of preseason play before being sent down to Stockton. Through 8 games, he is tied with Morgan Klimchuk for the lead in team scoring with 10 points. He is currently on a 5 game point streak. He is one of the most important players on the Stockton roster and perhaps the most significant prospect in the organization now that Tkachuk has graduated to being an NHL regular.
While it seems like the organization’s intention is to give him a full season of AHL development before bringing him up to the NHL, if a situation arises where there are injuries to the NHL centres, it would not be surprising to see him come up for a bit of action with Calgary. He is a smart, 2-way centre that has the potential to be an important contributor to the Flames in the future.
It is kind of funny how things work out. On draft day, his selection seemed like a ridiculous move to all spheres of people, especially when coupled with Jay Feaster and Doug Weisbrod’s comments about him following his selection. Proclaiming that an unheralded player who was just taken 21st overall (much higher than most had him ranked) to be the best player of the entire draft is an obscure and ill-advised thing to do. Jankowski obviously is not the best player in the draft (Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Trouba, Filip Forsberg are all very good players) but at this point he could very well have a more successful NHL career than a few of the players drafted way before him. Players such as Nail Yakupov (1st), Griffin Reinhart (4th), Mikahil Grigorenko (12th), Zemgus Girgensons (14tH) and Cody Ceci (15th) are not exactly world-beaters. How funny would it be if Janko ended up having a more successful career than the Oilers’ first overall?