In 2012, former Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster and his team of scouts selected Mark Jankowski in the first round. That was one mistake in perhaps the most disastrous draft in team history.
As Calgary Flames fans look forward to the season, and the shape the team might take, one of the most interesting names that comes up is Mark Jankowski. This is the case for a couple of reasons. First, going into the 2017-18 season, Jankowski is among the players thought to have a good shot at making the team. And there is good cause for it.
In his last year at Providence College, and his first year with the Stockton Heat, Jankowski’s numbers have been more than respectable. In 2016-2017, he led Stockton in goals and points and tied for the most points on the team during the Calder Cup campaign. Similarly, he led his Providence College team in all categories the year before.
It’s not hard to like his upside. If he shows well in training camp, he could very well end up with a spot in the bottom 6 in 2017-18. That makes Jankowski a very watchable player come the fall.
But that is not the only thing that makes him interesting.
Recall the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. With the 21st overall pick, then GM Jay Feaster and the Calgary entourage made their way to the podium and shocked everyone in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center when they selected Jankowski.
“WHO?”, is what I remember screaming at the television.
NHL Central Scouting had Jankowski ranked at 43 among North American skaters. FORTY THREE! If one adds European skaters and all the goalies into the count, one could estimate his overall ranking well into the fifties.
To make matters worse, the Flames traded away pick number 14 to Buffalo for the 21st pick. So, instead of getting to select from names like Tomas Hertl or Cody Ceci (who went 15th and 17th respectively), the Flames put themselves closer to the neighbourhood of names such as Olli Maata (who was Pittsburgh’s pick at 22). That wasn’t a terrible spot for the Flames to be in. But they burned that pick by selecting a player who was not supposed to get looked at for at least another 20 picks and possibly 2 rounds.
The trade with Buffalo also netted Feaster a second round pick, number 42, which the team did not have going into the draft. That would have been a fine spot to have selected Jankowski. However, Feaster and his brain trust opted for Patrick Sieloff, who has since only seen 1 NHL game and was ultimately traded to Ottawa.
This, in my opinion, makes 2012 the worst draft in Calgary Flames history. Where trading to get the second rounder was a wise choice, I think the team wasted their first round selection when they took Jankowski. At pick 21, there were better names on the board. And I am not convinced that he would have been selected before pick 42. Instead, Calgary got Sieloff, a passable AHL player who the Flames ultimately passed over.
To be fair, drafting is a near impossible science. And, 2012 was not a total bust. Feaster did select Jon Gillies and Brett Kulak in later rounds. Both players are developing nicely and it looks like they figure into the team’s plans long term. As well, the Flames have made some horrible first round picks in other drafts. Does anyone remember Rico Fata, Daniel Tkaczuk or Brent Krahn? Not to worry, nobody else does either.
Plus, I like Mark Jankowski. I think he has progressed to a player that deserves the good hard look that he’s going to get at training camp. He is certainly not to be blamed for the players he potentially cost the Flames on his draft day.
I simply feel like the team gave up far too much to get a player they easily would have had later in the draft.
The ripple effect of this draft is undetermined. There may have been no Monahan without a Jankowski. As with all drafts and draft picks, time will tell.
As Flames fans, we can’t feel THAT bad. The Oilers did get Yakupov that day (hee hee).