A moment this young man will never forgot:
On Friday night, the Flames traded their 14th overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for picks 21 and 42. With the 21st overall pick, Jay Feaster and his crew drafted Mark Jankowski, a pivot out of Stanstead College.
The 17 year-old has seen his stock rise drastically over the last year, something he credits to the fact more scouts were making stops in his neck of the woods. Stanstead College wasn't a place a lot of scouts were making stops at the beginning of the season but his performance there drew quite a crowd as the year went on.
"Playing at Stanstead College, not a lot of people knew where it was right away. So, as soon as I got that exposure, more and more people came out to watch and I kept on impressing."
Jankowski has signed with Providence College but will head to Dubuque in the USHL next year for developmental purposes. Dubuque general manager and head coach Jim Montgomery really likes the skill set Jankowski brings to the table and has compared him to another Flames prospect.
"He said I was kind of like a bigger Johnny Gaudreau," Jankowski noted.
For those who haven't followed Gaudreau's 2011-12 season, the diminutive forward was an offensive powerhouse for Boston College as a true freshman so that kind of compliment should excite Flames fans. Gaudreau also played for the Fighting Saints before heading to Beantown.
Watch CalgaryFlames.com over the next 24 hours for a ton of coverage on the 2012 NHL Draft!
The final days before the NHL Draft, Calgary Flames hockey operations staff and scouts conduct one-on-one interviews with prospects in hopes of getting a better read on players they
It is a continuation of the process started in Toronto during the NHL Draft Combine earlier this month where there Flames scouting team interviewed 58 prospects and reviewed their fitness testing results and medical history.
"We just sort of picked out seven or eight that we think conceivably could be in that wheelhouse of where we're picking," assistant general manager John Weisbrod said. "Guys that you want to dig a little deeper on and, in this case, get Jay some exposure to.
"It's a good chance to take it to the next level with the guys that we found appealing in that whole Toronto process."
General manager Jay Feaster wasn't able to attend the Combine with the rest of his team as he was in the midst of hiring new head coach Bob Hartley. This makes the interview process in Pittsburgh even more important and, given that these prospects are familiar with Calgary's scouting crew, they may feel more comfortable in these final meetings.
"When you meet with a person for the second time, it's a little more familiarity and little more of the guard down but really, in Toronto, they were all over the board," Weisbrod noted. "Some guys are really coached up and prepared. It's tough to get to the real stuff. Some guys are real down to earth and just come in and let it fly.
"Different kids handle it different ways."
These interviews are a great way to solidify where the scouting team has a player ranked on their list.
"Usually when you meet with a kid two or three times, you're going to be able get a pretty good feel for what makes them tick."
Some NHL Draft prospects had the opportunity to take part in batting practice at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, on Thursday afternoon. Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the event!
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New Flames head coach Bob Hartley is in Pittsburgh this week and while it isn't unusual for coaches to be present at the NHL Draft, the bench boss has likely been a bit more involved in the team's final preparations than his counterparts around the League as he familiarizes himself with the organization.
"I met all the amateur scouts, I met the pro scouts, I was part of part of the meetings," he said on Thursday afternoon. "I really like the people. I see that there is a commitment to making sure that the Calgary Flames get the best players possible. It has been very valuable to me, knowing about the organization and about the people in the organization."
Sitting in the Flames scouting meetings has been an eye-opening experience for Hartley and the constant communication between the scouting staff and hockey operations has impressed him.
"That's the key in order to be successful."
Hartley's presence is also beneficial if trade possibilities arise. He'll be able to give his opinion before Flames GM Jay Feaster makes a move. Hartley has been around the game for a long time and his input, along with that of the pro scouts, are a valuable resource for hockey operations.
Expect to see Hartley quite often over the next few days and watch for more interviews with him on CalgaryFlames.com.
With less than 48 hours until the 2012 NHL Draft kicks off in Pittsburgh, the Flames scouting staff and members of hockey operations are holed inside a boardroom making constant revisions to their final prospect rankings list.
While ranking the top prospects is obviously important - last minute scrutinizing and shuffling was key in drafting Sven Baertschi last year - according to special assistant to the general manager Craig Conroy, close attention is being paid to prospects expected to go in the late rounds.
"As important as it to get the top pick (right), maybe the first or second rounds you're really focusing in on, it's just as important in your sixth or seventh rounds.
"That's the one thing that the guys have really buckled down. I think that's where you make hay, if you can get some later."
The 2011 NHL Draft yielded some very solid prospects in the later rounds. Conroy pointed to fourth round selection Johnny Gaudreau, who was second in team scoring at Boston College this year as a true freshman, and the Flames sixth round pick last year, Laurent Brossoit, who led the Edmonton Oil Kings to a WHL Championship and was named the series MVP, as examples.
"What can a guy do special in some of the later rounds? He's got some faults but we could pick this guy and he could make a difference some day," Conroy said. "That's what you're looking for."
The first round of the NHL Draft kicks off on Friday evening with rounds two through seven taking place on Saturday. Watch CalgaryFlames.com for constant video, audio and editorial updates and make sure your following us through social media as we'll have tons of exclusive content popping up on our platforms:
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