Sometimes you need to search for an unexpected spark to your lineup, and that’s exactly what the Nashville Predators appear to be doing with their recall of Mark Jankowski from the Milwaukee Admirals on Thursday.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) November 3, 2022
Jankowski has 272 games of NHL experience, mostly with the Calgary Flames who originally drafted him 21st overall in 2012. He tallied 31 goals over two seasons between 2017 and 2019 with the Flames.
Ironically enough, the next team up on the Nashville Predators schedule is the Flames, and we could see Jankowski make his team debut. He only played in 19 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 2021-22, his lowest of his NHL career since 2016-17, and put up five points.
What Can Jankowski Provide to the Nashville Predators?
Jankowski has really stood out for a Milwaukee Admirals team that is loaded with talent and off to a really strong start to their AHL season.
Many, including myself, had Philip Tomasino penciled in as the likely candidate to be called up after the Predators sent Kiefer Sherwood to waivers on Wednesday. He seemed like the most logical choice considering he played 76 games in his rookie year and could seamlessly fit back into the lineup.
However, the coaching staff clearly feels that Tomasino needs more work on the AHL level after just being sent down there last month. Pulling him back up so abruptly would have been a knee jerk reaction when your original goal was to see him get extensive development in the AHL.
Pulling Tomasino back up to the NHL level to play fourth line minutes once again doesn’t make logical sense, while giving a newcomer that has nearly 300 games of NHL experience a chance to give your team a new spark makes more sense.
Jankowski can hopefully provide some stability to a revolving door on the fourth line. This team desperately needs a spark from somewhere in their depth as the top-six hasn’t been producing in critical moments, either.
Placing Jankowski on the fourth line against the Flames to go along with Cody Glass and Cole Smith is a likely option for Head Coach John Hynes, who is under a lot of scrutiny right now from the fanbase for the team’s awful start to 2022-23.
With that said, Jankowski isn’t going to be some kind of savior for all of the issues this team has. They have to start producing on the power play. They’re one of the worst in the NHL despite being the in top-10 in power play chances. Jankowski isn’t going to make an impact there. That comes down to your core veterans showing up in key moment, and not just in garbage time when the game is out of hand.
We’ll have to patiently wait on what the Jankowski call up will mean for the line combinations. It has been a fluid situation through the first 10 games, and Emma Lingan reports that Hynes will make some “game-time decisions” for the Flames matchup:
#Preds head coach John Hynes says there will be “a couple game time decisions” with tonight’s lines vs. CGY.
— Emma Lingan (@emma_lingan) November 3, 2022
Sherwood cleared waivers and will be sent to the Milwaukee Admirals for now.
The Nashville Predators will look to turn this skid around with an impressive win over a Stanley Cup caliber Flames team on Thursday night in Alberta.