Pittsburgh Penguins: High Shooting Percentage Couldn’t Save Mark Jankowski 2019-2020 Season
|Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP|
We continue our breakdown of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2019-2020 season with individual player recaps. Today will feature newcomer Mark Jankowski.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were at their best when they able to roll out four lines of forwards that have the ability to score.
Then one playoff series Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson permanently implanted himself inside of General Manager Jim Rutherford’s head. He decided to change up what had worked for them and decide to make sure they wouldn’t get pushed around anymore.
They traded their first round pick (that’s right) for noted enforcer, Ryan Reeves. In less than a season they moved on from him to try and get deeper down the middle (Derick Brassard).
Now this offseason, the Penguins have gone back and are trying to restructure their roster, and did so in parts of adding former first-round pick Mark Jankowski through free agency.
Jankowski will be an interesting case to watch when training camp, and then the season gets underway. He scored 27 goals in 64 games with the Stockton Heat in the American Hockey League (AHL), and then 31 in a two-season span at the NHL level.
But then he registered just five goals in 56 games this past season, as Jankowski went from key depth piece for the Calgary Flames, to them moving on from him completely during the offseason.
Jankowski: 2019-2020 By The Numbers
A lot of times, when a player all of a sudden bottoms out, you may see their shot metrics remain the same, and it was maybe an unmaintainable shooting percentage that bottomed out.
You don’t really want to say his only problem was that he didn’t shoot enough, but then again, that might just be what this chart is actually telling us.
Jankowski finished with an elite shooting percentage, but you could probably count on one hand the people who shot the puck fewer times than the Providence College product.
Outside the oddly high shooting percentage, there wasn’t much to like when it comes to his offensive production. He did create quite a bit of turnovers, but wasn’t really able to do anything about it.
Yea, it’s starting to be easy to see why the Flames moved on. Players have bad seasons. That’s nothing to be concerned about, but to see his numbers bottom out like this in so many categories was concerning enough for Calgary.
His expected goal rate was strong, and maybe around a more defensive sound group (maybe on the wing of Teddy Blueger, on centering a fourth line with Zach Aston-Reese, when he comes back from injury) he can pull his GA/60 down towards his xGA/60.
But what actually transpired on the ice - mainly his 31.01% on-ice goal share - was everything that Calgary needed to see.
Pending another trade or signing, I’d imagine Jankowski would get the first nod as the team’s fourth line center, with Blueger moving up the depth chart.
One thing we can look forward to with Jankowski is his play shorthanded. For his career, Jankowski has seven shorthanded goals, five of which came in one season. He has led the Flames in time on ice over the past couple of seasons while on the penalty kill.
Even Rutherford recognized what Jankowski’s role would be and what he was adding to the roster.
“Mark is another versatile player that gives us an option at the center position.” Said the Penguins’ general manager. “His added experience on the penalty kill where he had success over the last few seasons makes him a good fit for our team.”
Whether or not Jankowski rediscovers some of the scoring could add even more value to a player on a league minimum contract.
While his super high shooting percentage could be just a blip, something created by the fact he just didn’t the puck enough to get enough of a sample size, it could also be a sign that he just needs to be put in position to shoot more.
What are your thoughts on the Penguins signing Jankowski? Do you think he can rediscover his scoring touch he showed early in his career, or does Pittsburgh just have another replacement level fourth line center on their hands? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy and @SportBlogMurphy.