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Missing graduation no problem for Jankowski

by Arpon Basu

-- As recently as a week ago, Mark Jankowski was struggling to figure out what he should do.

But when he was taken the Calgary Flames with the 21st pick at the NHL Draft on Friday night, the tall center from Stanstead College in Quebec knew he’d made the right call to skip his high school graduation ceremony and attend the first round of the draft


"I think I made the right decision," a beaming Jankowski said while wearing a Flames jersey. "I only made my decision about a week ago, and right up until that day I was flip flopping every day."

Jankowski’s stock has skyrocketed -- at midseason he was ranked No. 74 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He climbed to No. 42 by the end of the season and ultimately wound up getting chosen at No. 21.

Flames general manager Jay Feaster was effusive in his praise for Jankowski, saying that his chief scout Todd Button told him that 10 years from now, Calgary would be celebrated for taking the best player in the 2012 draft.

"I want to prove him right," Jankowski said. "I want to prove I can be the best player in this draft, and I’m really happy to have a GM that has the confidence in me to do that."

Jankowski also made some history when he was taken by the Flames, becoming the highest-ever draft pick straight out of a Canadian high school. The previous best came in 2005, when Ottawa took Colin Greening with the 204th selection.

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