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Oct 21, 2012 9:44pm
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PITTSBURGH —Some general managers take the safe route during the NHL draft. Arian Foster Womens Jersey . They dont veer
far from the projected norm, sticking with seemingly secure picks while treating
any risk with the same disdain as they show to a four-minute penalty. Then
theres Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster. Feaster might have taken the
biggest gamble of any GM during the two-day draft at Consol Energy Center,
reaching, though thats not a word in his vocabulary, for high school centre
Mark Jankowski during the first round. Its the kind of go-off-the-charts move
that, someday, can get a general manager fired—or, conversely, can earn him a
multi-year extension if the pick plays out. After trading with Buffalo on Friday
night, the Flames moved down to No. 21 overall to choose Jankowski, a baby-faced
17-year-old with a innate ability to dangle the puck on his stick like an NHL
veteran but a long road still left to travel to reach the league. Other teams
had Jankowski going much lower, yet Feaster boldly predicted that, in 10 years,
Jankowski will be the best player selected during the 2012 draft. Assistant GM
of player development John Weisbrod is Jankowskis biggest supporter, arguing
that the Flames should hold on to their first-round pick—there was sentiment
in the organization to deal it—so they could land Jankowski. “He still has to
cross those crocodile-infested waters,” Weisbrod said Saturday after the NHL
needed less than three hours to conclude rounds 2-7. “(During) the time period
from getting drafted to being in the NHL, a lot can go wrong. Obviously thats on
his shoulders and our shoulders to develop him.” Still, Weisbrod said, “from a
pure talent standpoint, to get a guy at No. 21 thats as physically talented as
anyone else in the draft, that makes you bullish. Hes capable of being that
special kind of player.” The six-foot-two Jankowski, who has grown about six
inches in the last two years, was ranked 43rd among North American skaters in
the final Central Scouting rankings, normally not a position where first-round
picks are found. But to Feaster and his aides, there was value up and down a
draft in which Weisbrod said he was happy with all seven picks. “Thats the way
its supposed to be, but Ive been in drafts where I havent felt that,” Weisbrod
said. The Flames began Saturday by picking USHL defenceman Patrick Sieloff with
the No. 42 overall pick, which they acquired in the Friday deal in which they
switched first-round spots with Buffalo. Central Scouting had Sieloff pegged at
No. 31 among North American skaters. “I like playing against top lines and
shutting them down,” said Sieloff, who is expected to play for the Windsor
Spitfires next season. After that, the Flames went for another USHL player,
six-foot-four goalie Jon Gillies, on the third round, followed by defencemen
Brett Kulak of the Vancouver Giants and Ryan Culkin of the Quebec Remparts, left
wing Coda Gordon of the Swift Current Blades and centre Matthew Deblouw, one of
three USHL players among the Flames seven picks. Deblouw is expected to play at
Michigan State. Gillies is headed to Providence College, where Jankowski was
initially expected to play. Instead, hell go into developmental hockey.
Jankowski was the most accomplished scorer among the draft-eligible players—
he had 53 goals and 94 points at Stanstead College high school in Hamilton last
season—but, in part because he is only 17, he was widely projected as a
second-round pick. The Flames could have stayed at No. 14 and chosen defenceman
Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67s, who went to the Senators one pick later. Ceci owns
a 97-m.p.h. slapshot and was projected by some scouts as a top 10 player. Still,
an hour-long meeting Friday in Pittsburgh with Jankowski further convinced
Feaster and his staff that he was the player they wanted. “I really want to
prove them right,” Jankowski said. “I think in 10 years I can be the best player
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