CALGARY, Alberta — The Calgary Flames waited for five years for Mark Jankowski to arrive and it looks like he was worth the wait.
The 23-year-old center was drafted late in the first round in 2012, spent four full years at Providence College and another in the American Hockey League before being called up to the National Hockey League nine games into the season.
His 17th game on Thursday saw him score twice in a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes, giving him five goals so far this season and the fifth most on the Flames.
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Jankowski appears to be in Calgary to stay.
“We like to keep him hungry so we’re going to let him stay in the hotel for a while,” coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I’ve watched enough young players. I don’t see him going anywhere.”
On Saturday, that opponent is the puzzling Edmonton Oilers, who visit the Saddledome for the second half of Canada’s Hockey Night in Canada evening.
If Jankowski stays productive, it gives the Flames secondary scoring they have been lacking. He’s currently lined up with wingers Jaromir Jagr and Sam Bennett.
“It feels pretty good, just to help the team win and help contribute,” he said.
“I feel confident out there.”
The Oilers made several roster moves on Friday. They placed defenseman Adam Larsson on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and recalled Ryan Stanton from the AHL.
Edmonton also claimed forward Nathan Walker off waivers from the Washington Capitals and placed Liro Pakarinen on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the AHL.
Walker, the first Australian to ever play in the NHL, has one goal in seven games this season.
Larsson is expected to miss no more than a week, Oilers coach Todd McLellan told reporters after practice Friday. He was a late scratch Thursday.
The Oilers arrive in Calgary a deflated bunch.
Expected to be among the NHL’s elite teams with Connor McDavid now in his third full season, they have struggled to a 10-14-1 record. Thursday’s 6-4 loss at home to the Toronto Maple Leafs was a tough pill to swallow because of how it ended.
Tied 4-4, Oilers defenseman Kris Russell knocked a clearing attempt into his own goal with just over a minute remaining. The Leafs added an empty-netter.
The Oilers are now 29th out of 31 teams.
McLellan was asked in his post-game scrum how the team was doing — in reference to the poor start this season and the evening’s result — but he took it as a question about Russell either accidentally or on purpose.
“The group supports Rusty 100 percent. They’re in their tapping him (on the pads),” he said.
“The question was about Russell and we have no issues with him at all.”
The Oilers will continue with backup goalie Laurent Brossoit because of an injury to starter Cam Talbot, who has gone on injured reserve.
Saturday’s game is the second meeting of the season between the Oilers and Flames. Edmonton won 3-0 at home on opening night Oct. 4.