PITTSBURGH, PA - John Weisbrod had visions of trading the Calgary Flames first round pick earlier in the season.
Mark Jankowksi drastically altered that plan.
After seeing Jankowksi play in early December, the Flames Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel quickly had a change of opinion on what was best for Calgary’s first round pick.
“We had been thinking for a long time earlier in the year that maybe we were best off trading the pick,” Weisbrod admitted. “It was really seeing this particular kid that made me feel motivated to hold onto the pick.”
As it would turn out, the Flames would move the pick, sensing they could trade down and add another selection without jeopardizing their Jakowski plan. It worked in what Weisbrod suggested was their best-case scenario heading into day one of the 2012 NHL Draft.
“Once we got the sense in the draft we could move from 14 to 21, still get him and get a second round pick, it all came full circle and worked out pretty well.”
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some tense times at the Flames draft table waiting for additional picks to come off the board. Intent on taking Jankowski at 14, Weisbrod and the Flames waited an additional seven picks before nabbing their player.
“There was some nerve-wracking moments because he was the guy we wanted and when we went 14 to 21, you’re obviously on the edge of your seat with every pick,” Weisbrod said. “Someone could’ve spoiled the day for us but he was there at 21 and we were able to get him and get the second round pick back so we’d have some work to do early tomorrow.”
The uncertainty of how the first round was unfolding before the Flames added to Weisbrod’s anxiety. The first round was littered with surprise, leaving Weisbrod hoping his plan would come to fruition.
“It’s the hardest I can remember in terms of knowing what was going to happen,” Weisbrod said. “This was a total wildcard. There were guys coming out all over the place. It really was unpredictable and that’s what made it harder to know whether you could move that pick or buy that time.”
The Flames plan to wait on Jankowski worked. Weisbrod said the team plans on taking a similar approach with the development of their first round pick.
“This is my favorite guy long term, but it’s going to take time,” he said. “This isn’t like a (Sven) Baertschi from last year where one year and you’re ready to put him in your lineup. We decided it was worth the development time.”
“This guy is a long way away. This guy is raw. We want to make sure we handle his development properly. Whether its two years or three years or four years, that when he gets here he’s ready to go and we’ll play that as it comes.”
And if it all goes according to Weisbrod’s plan, Jankowski will be a key contributor for the Flames for many years to come.