Calgary Flames: Prospects Mark Jankowki and Jon Gillies Impressing at Providence

JJ PernaContributor IOctober 30, 2012

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Gillies #31 of the USA Blue Squad skates against Team Finland at the USA hockey junior evaluation camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 6, 2012 in Lake Placid, New York. Team USA defeated Finland 5-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2012 NHL Draft brought two players to Providence College that Flames fans hoped they would see suited up soon.

Providence College hockey fans aren't going to rush sending them out.

First round pick Mark Jankowski and third round pick Jon Gillies have already made their presence known to not only Friars fans, but some of the best teams in the country. Jankowski, who has already been pegged in the first line, and Gillies who was named the starting goalie, have faced top ranked teams such as Miami (Ohio) and Boston University.

Jankowski was the biggest recruit Providence has seen in a while. Since Coach Nate Lehman came to PC from Union College, the hockey team has seen a sharp turn around, including an appearance in the Hockey East semifinals against eventual National Champions Boston College.

The 6'3" forward has only tallied three points in six games, but going against first line talent in the Hockey East is no easy adjustment. Jankowski has looked quick and smooth for the most part, where his raw talent obviously shows.

Gillies on the other hand has been the surprising name making headlines in Friartown. After recording his first shutout of the season against Maine this past weekend, Gillies earned his third consecutive Hockey East award.

After winning Co-Defensive Player of the Week two weeks ago, the net minder took home the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week award the past two weeks.

The 6'5" goalie has made anything but routine saves. He has faced numerous pepperings in front of the net and has been tested in every game. There is nothing inflated about his 1.72 GAA and .938 save percentage.

Flames GM Jay Feaster was in the building this past weekend to watch his two prospects take on Maine. During an intermission on Saturday, Cox Sports was able to get a quick interview.

Feaster has some high expectations for Jankowski, comparing him to ex-Flames All-Star Joe Nieuwendyk:

We think Mark's going to slide in and be a first line center here, and ultimately that's what we project him on our team.

The expectations for Gillies were not tempered by Feaster either.

He reminds me a lot of Tim Thomas in the respect that he never gives up on the puck, but he also has very good movement side to side, and again he is a good athlete.

The college hockey season is young, so Flames fans should be able to follow these two rising stars clear into winter. If the expectations or their play are any sign however, they soon will be able to follow Jankowski and Gillies inside the Saddledome.

Until then, Lehman and Friar fans will happily welcome them.