They’ve given me a really good impression ever since they came in. I’ve had a few talks with them and they made me feel really welcome here. I’m a part of their plan. They made me feel really welcomed here. - Mark Jankowski
CALGARY, AB -- Mark Jankowski saw the fanfare surrounding Sean Monahan following his impressive rookie season with the Calgary Flames.
He understands the hype building around Sam Bennett, who became the highest Calgary Flames draft pick ever at No. 4 some two weeks ago. He gets the excitement around Johnny Gaudreau, the 5-foot-9 reigning Hobey Baker Award winner.
But he also knows he hasn’t been forgotten either.
“They’ve given me a really good impression ever since they came in,” said Jankowski of Calgary's new management staff, including Brian Burke, president of hockey operations, and general manager Brad Treliving. “I’ve had a few talks with them and they made me feel really welcome here. I’m a part of their plan. They made me feel really welcomed here.
“We had a meeting the other day. They said a lot of reassuring things here. They’re really excited to have me as part of the organization and I’ve very excited as well.”
No, Calgary’s top pick, 21st overall in the 2012 NHL Draft has not been left out.
Far from it in fact.
“As I told him (Sunday), ‘Don’t be thinking that anybody is writing you off,’ ” the Flames GM said Sunday from the WinSport facility at Canada Olympic Park.
“Listen, I saw Mark play the last couple of years. You look at him now, when he fills out, he’s pushing 6-foot-4. Skill … hockey sense — that’s a great combination.
“So we’re going to be patient with him. I don’t think anything has changed from when he was drafted. He’s going to take some time, but I think there’s some great tools there to work with.”
Patience was preached when drafting Jankowski 24 months ago.
Since then, the 19-year-old (who is only a month older than Monahan) has seen his numbers climb in all facets of his game. He increased his freshmen totals of seven goals and 18 points to 13 and 25 respectively in his sophomore season. He’s added 15 pounds to his already 6-foot-4 frame, too.
It’s all about progression -- on all fronts.
“With my development, I’m just trying to get better every day,” Jankowski said. “That’s been my mentality. Every year get better. Every day, just try to do something that makes myself better. Every lift in the weight room I want to push myself as hard as I can even if it’s just a little bit stronger every day. Every bit counts.
“All those little things, that’s what matters.”
Providence College teammate John Gilmour has seen Jankowski’s progression right before his eyes.
Having spent two seasons with the native of Hamilton, ON., Gilmour is impressed with what he’s seen in Jankowski.
“He’s matured a lot over the years,” Gilmour said. “He’s put on a lot more weight. He’s a bit of a lanky kid but that’s going to come with time. He’s got that time. Him with another 20 pounds on him will be a real force. He’s hard to move already. He’ll be harder to move with more weight.
“He’s got a big frame. I remember when he was 160 and he was weaker on his feet. He’s getting harder.
“At 220, you just don’t like being out on the ice with guys like him.”
Meaning Jankowski will be worth the wait for the Flames.
“You look at him now from where he was two years ago, you can see there’s still a lot of boy in him, but he’s continuing to get stronger,” Treliving said. “He’s developing. He’s maturing.”
And he’s not being forgotten.