If Mark Jankowski wants to make it back to the NHL, he’ll be going through the AHL to do it as Rochester, AHL affiliate of Buffalo, announced that they’ve inked the 27-year-old to a one-year contract.
Jankowski has not been able to live up to his first-round draft billing (21st overall in 2012) and has struggled the last few seasons. After being non-tendered by Calgary in 2020, the center quickly signed with Pittsburgh, inking a one-year deal for the league minimum. The move made plenty of sense on paper as a still relatively unproven player with a bit of upside hoping that a change of scenery would get him going.
However, that didn’t really happen. Jankowski managed just 11 points (4-7-11) in 45 games last season while playing almost exclusively on the fourth line. Even though his qualifying offer was only for the minimum this season ($750K), the Penguins opted to non-tender him again, avoiding arbitration in the process. Unable to secure a guaranteed deal, Jankowski signed a training camp tryout with New Jersey but wasn’t able to land a contract with them either.
Evidently, an NHL two-way offer wasn’t available either which has led Jankowski to the AHL and the Americans. It will be his first extended action in the minors since 2016-17 when he had 27 goals and 29 assists with Stockton. This will also be Jankowski’s first real opportunity to play an offensive role in the top six since that season as well and he’s clearly banking that a good showing with Rochester will bolster his shot at landing an NHL contract somewhere either later this season or next summer.