About eight years ago, a tall and incredibly lanky centreman from Hamilton, Ontario was labelled as the ‘prospect to watch’. The general manager who drafted him, Jay Feaster, even went as far as to say that in 10 years the kid, Mark Jankowski, would “be viewed as the best player in the 2012 Draft.”

With just two years to go until the deadline made by that comment, Mark Jankowski will need to make insurmountable strides to meet the incredible expectations set for him.

2019-2020 season summary

GP Goals Assists Points TOI/GP 5V5 CF% 5V5 FF% 5V5 CF%REL oZS% PDO
56 5 2 7 11.06 48% 47.4% -3.6 40.8% 95.7

(Data from Hockey Reference) 

Saying the numbers weren’t in Mark Jankowski’s favour would be quite the understatement. The 6’4″, 212-pound centreman took one of the biggest steps back out of all Flames players; often passing the puck during prime scoring chances, hanging back in the neutral zone as a third defender instead of rushing to the net, and in general, just playing an extremely low-confidence game.

His lack of confidence likely has to do with the seemingly never-ending goalless drought that Jankowski started the season with, tallying his first goal in his 39th game of the season and only having one assist until that point. It was around this time when I wrote my first article for FlamesNation, referring to Mark Jankowski as a potential late bloomer.

While most of his stats are quite underwhelming, there are a few factors that should be pointed out about Mark Jankowski’s 2019-20 season. For starters, the forward’s ice time was reduced by over a minute per game; also being allocated just half the power play time he was given in 2018-19. Furthermore, the centreman was buried in the defensive zone, starting in his own end the most out of any Flame with 59.2% of his draws being in the defensive end, roughly 5% more than the second most. On the contrary, during the 2018-19 season, Jankowski only spent 48.5% of his draws in the defensive zone. Clearly, the massive increase in d-zone face-offs had a negative implication on the centreman’s offensive game. Mark Jankowski’s PDO is another indicator of an unfortunate season, with this season’s 95.7 being nearly 2 whole points lower than his career average of 97.5. Luck, or the lack of it, certainly played a role in the Hamilton, Ontario product’s abysmal season.

Compared with last season

Whichever way you look at it, Mark Jankowski’s game flat out fell off a cliff after the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Along with his stellar play on the penalty kill, on which he scored the second most short-handed goals in the NHL with five, Jankowski potted 14 goals and 32 points in his sophomore year. Expectations were high coming into his third NHL season, clearly they were not met as shown by some of the fancy stats below.

Season GP TOI/GP G/60 A/60 PDO 5V5 CF% 5V5 FF% oZS%
2018-19 79 12:42 0.8 0.7 98.1 51.3% 51.4% 51.5%
2019-20 56 11:06 0.5 0.1 95.7 48.0% 47.4% 40.8%

(Data from Hockey Reference)

Despite overpassing throughout the entire season, Mark Jankowski had a measly two assists. As can be seen, by the A/60, Jankowski was seven times less efficient in that category during the 2019-2020 NHL season. His Corsi and Fenwick stats both imply that the centreman was a possession sinkhole, likely due to his team-high D-zone starts and the constant rotation of wingers on his line.

Over the past two seasons, the centreman has logged a total of 10 games in the playoffs; 5 in each season. While he recorded no points in either playoff run, Mark Jankowski’s ice time was reduced by nearly 4 minutes a game from the 2019 playoffs (12:45) to the 2020 playoffs (8:49). His performance in the dot, one of his strengths throughout his career, also took a nosedive, going from team high 64.2% in the 2019 playoffs to a team low 42.9% in 2020.

What about next season?

As the 2019-20 NHL season concluded, Mark Jankowski finished up his two-year $3,350,000 contract (AAV of $1,675,000). Should Brad Treliving and Co wish to bring him back, I can’t see the centreman making a case for any more than $1.25 million a year. This wasn’t just an unlucky year, Jankowski’s point totals and advanced stats regressed considerably across the board.

One of the player’s biggest strengths in the past was the aggressiveness he showed up the PK, helping the 2018-19 Flames finish first in the league with 18 short-handed goals. 2019-20 Jankowski on the other hand played a sluggish and highly unconfident game, often looking like he was too scared to make a mistake. Given the excellent play of the seemingly NHL-ready Glenn Gawdin, if the coaching staff and management are unable to work out the reasons for the sudden change in Mark Jankowski’s game, it may be time to move on from the 2012 first round pick.

2020 Player Evaluations

Mark Giordano | Sean Monahan | Sam Bennett | Johnny Gaudreau | Elias Lindholm | Dillon Dube | Milan Lucic | Rasmus Andersson | Andrew Mangiapane | Cam Talbot | David Rittich | Noah Hanifin | Matthew Tkachuk | Derek Ryan | Travis Hamonic | Tobias Rieder | TJ Brodie | Zac Rinaldo | Oliver Kylington