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2020-21: Season in Review: Mark Jankowski

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The former Calgary Flames forward was not so hot with his new team.

NHL: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Mark Jankowski (14) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Vitals

Player: Mark Jankowski
Born: September 13, 1994 (26)
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 212 lbs.
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Shoots: Left
Draft: 2012 - Calgary Flames - Round 1, Pick 21
2020-21 Statistics: 45 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 P

Contract Status: Signed a one-year, $700,000 contract in summer 2020; Will be a UFA this summer.

History

2019-20 Player Report Card via Matchsticks and Gasoline — 48 percent of their readers gave a “D” grade.

Playoffs

Jankowski did not suit up for a single playoff game. His last game came on April 27 against the Boston Bruins.

Monthly Split

via yahoo!

Story of the season

Would Mark Jankowski become another successful Jim Rutherford reclamation project? The thought process for the former general manager had to be something along the lines of: “Maybe a change of scenery combined with his former first-round pedigree would translate into a quality top-nine forward for our club.” Add in his massive frame at 6’4 and 200+ pounds and Rutherford probably thought this was a great, low-risk/high-reward signing.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a low-risk/low-reward for everyone involved.

The first two games of the season saw Jankowski rack up a goal and two assists against the Philadelphia Flyers. Hey, maybe we found another quality depth piece! Nope.

The Ontario native would be held without a point from January 17 all the way through the middle of March, when he scored just his second goal of the season on March 13 against the Buffalo Sabres. But of note, this goal was just an empty netter.

Jankowski could never get the monkey off his back. And his ice time only decreased after the acquisition of Jeff Carter.

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

data via Natural Stat Trick. Ranking is out of 16 forwards on the team who qualified by playing a minimum of 150 minutes.

Corsi For %: 44.22 (15th)
Goals For %: 54.55 (9th)
xGF %: 41.76 (16th)
Scoring Chance %: 46.56 (16th)
High Danger Scoring Chance %: 53.33 (11th)
5v5 on-ice shooting %: 7.45 (13th)
On-ice save %: 94.48 (3rd)
Goals/60: 0.09
Assist/60: 0.16
Points/60: 0.24

—Not a whole lot of great statistics there outside of on-ice save percentage. Jankowski was a negative possession player and hardly contributed offensively. Finishing dead last in expected goals for percentage and scoring chance percentage is indicative of the reputation that preceded him while in Calgary.

Charts n’at

His defensive and penalty-killing abilities are the lone brights spots, according to JFresh’s calculations. Simply put, Jankowski isn't going to give you a ton of offense. Now, not every player in the league is going to be a point machine, and every team needs a few, solid defensive forwards (see: Aston-Reese, Zach), but strong defensive numbers combined with a subpar finishing percentage along with his even strength offensive output is not a recipe for success.

No matter your thoughts on the WAR statistic, and, heck, even using the “eye test,” Jankowski was a below replacement level player, meaning better forwards could have been had for roughly the same price and they would have given the Penguins a better offensive output.

The data here helps visualize some of the numbers above from Natural Stat Trick. A cold offensive player that was fairly responsible in the defensive third.

For being a former first-round draft pick, Jankowski simply hasn't produced like it. Do you chalk that up to the Flames’ scouting department or has Jankowski simply been unable to live up to that kind of reputation?

Tallying 17 goals and 14 goals in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons respectively, there is, or at least, was an offensive pulse there at one point, but the 26-year-old only has a combined nine goals in his last 101 regular season games.

The deployments here aren't too shocking. Largely sharing the ice with players like Sam Lafferty and Colton Sceviour tells you what you need to know about how Mike Sullivan configured his bottom-six.

What surprises me is how much 5v5 ice-time Jankowski got when compared to his penalty-killing numbers. Sullivan hardly ever deployed Jankowski in this role.

Highlights

Jankowski did score the first goal of the 2021 season. He can certainly hang his hat on that trivia nugget.

Nice pass to Cody Ceci there to set up that goal.

This goal was credited to Jankowski. Nice face-off win by the center that eventually leads to the goal being scored.

Bottom line

With a cap hit of only $700K for this season, it’s not like the Penguins were expecting a 40-goal snipe show from Jankowski, but for as cold as he got throughout the 2021 campaign, you need to see more production from your bottom-six forwards. There’s not much more to it than that. Empty net goals are goals, but this season’s point totals are, unfortunately for the player, all too similar to the 2019-20 season, his last with the Flames.

Ideal 2021-22

Ideally for Jankowski, next season brings with it some normality with an October season start date, an 82-game schedule, and perhaps a chance to show one more team that he can be an effective player in the NHL.

That chance won't be with the Penguins, however. I don't see a realistic scenario in which Jankowski is brought back to this team. When everyone is healthy, the Penguins will have: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, presumably Jeff Carter, possibly Teddy Blueger, Jared McCann, if needed, and even Frederick Gaudreau may have earned himself a new contract with Pittsburgh.

In fact, for redemption stories at forward this year, it was Gaudreau, not Jankowski, who made the most of an opportunity with the Pens and found his way into the playoff lineup.

For his price tag and output, Jankowski’s days in the black-and-gold look to be over.

Question to ponder

What kind of player is Mark Jankowski? Is he a 15-goal, 30-40-point player? Or, as his recent advanced and traditional statistics have shown, is he a fringe fourth-liner?

Poll

How would you grade Mark Jankowski’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    C
    (42 votes)
  • 46%
    D
    (195 votes)
  • 42%
    F
    (178 votes)
422 votes total Vote Now