When the Calgary Flames selected Mark Jankowski 21st overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, it was a bit of a shock. The Ontario-born forward was playing high school hockey in Quebec, not normally a place you'll find a first-round NHL draft pick. It was a risky pick, but Calgary liked what they saw in Jankowski's potential due to a high level of skill.
Jankowski is now a sophomore forward for Providence and is off to a fantastic start this season, but Friday night he took things to an entirely new level.
With the Friars hosting No. 3 Miami University, and leading 1-0 early in the second period, Jankowski chipped a loose puck ahead past a defender. He used his good speed to get into the zone. With two defenseman to beat, Jankowski put on a show, toe-dragging the first, who was sliding for a poke check, then did the same to the second who was patrolling the net-front. Jankowski then slid the puck to his backhand past a bewildered Miami goaltender and into the net to make it 2-0.
No. 8 Providence ended up winning the game 3-2 in overtime for a huge home victory. The only person happier after last night than Friars head coach Nate Leaman was probably Calgary GM Jay Feaster who took a lot of heat for selecting Jankowski. Especially now after the player picked one spot after the dynamic forward was defenseman Olli Maatta, who made the Pittsburgh Penguins roster this year at 19 years old.
Jankowski still has a ways to go developmentally, but that goal is a glimpse of why many believe he has some serious potential to do that kind of thing at the NHL level. It may take him a while longer to get there, but if he keeps doing stuff like that, he should be in pretty good shape when Calgary is ready to sign him.
Jankowski has four goals this season and is second for Providence with five points. Looks like things are really starting to click for this kid.