I want to prove that I'm one of the best players there and to make the team. - Mark Jankowski
CALGARY, AB -- The smile on Mark Jankowski's face said it.
Heading off the ice after his first on-ice session at the 2013 Flames development camp, the centreman was asked about being added to Hockey Canada's National Junior Team summer development camp roster.
"It's such an honour," he grinned. "I got the news on Monday, when I got into Calgary I got the call. I was really excited and I'm super pumped to get that going. It's my first chance at a Hockey Canada camp so it's really exciting for me."
Jankowski was added to the roster after Hockey Canada became aware that four of its original invitees - Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, Griffin Reinhart, and Morgan Rielly, would be able to attend camp in Brossard, QC but will not be able to play in the exhibition games held in Lake Placid, NY.
The 18 year-old is just one of two NCAA players to attend the camp but his addition doesn't come as a surprise to those who have watched him develop over the course of the 2012-13 season. Jankowski, a true freshman, was Providence's fifth leading scorer - a feat considering the berth of talent the Friars routinely face in Hockey East. He posted 7 goals and 18 points in 34 games, averaging .53 points-per-game. According to head coach Nate Leaman, even when Jankowski was struggling to produce, he was still averaging four to five quality scoring chances per game.
That being said, this year's WJC roster will be tough to crack as there are a plethora of pivots invited to camp. Brendan Gaunce, Max Domi, Sean Monahan, Félix Girard, Connor McDavid, Nic Petan, Scott Laughton, Frédérik Gauthier, Sam Reinhart, Curtis Lazar, Brendan Leipsic, Ryan Rupert and potentially MacKinnon are all competing for spots and are all officially listed as centres. While Jankowski is aware every player will have their work cut out for them when it comes to making the final cut, he's thrilled to have the opportunity to audition for the team.
"I just want to go in there and play my game. I want to prove that I'm one of the best players there and to make the team."
One aspect that will help him as he tries to land on the final WJC roster is his size. In addition to growing a couple of inches, now standing 6-foot-3 and a half, he has added on muscle. When he was drafted by the Flames last summer, he weighed in 171 lbs. but a season of off-ice workouts has filled out his once-lanky frame.
"I'm 185 lbs. now," he told CalgaryFlames.com. "They told me I'm 14 lbs. heavier than I was last summer ... I want to continue getting stronger. To play in this league, you have to be extremely strong."