The Seattle Kraken needed someone to step up with the team struggling to keep up in the Western Conference and suffering the loss of Brandon Tanev to a season-ending ACL injury. It took Calle Jarnkrok 12 games to tally his first point in a Kraken jersey, but since then, he has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games. The 30-year-old center is emerging as a player the team desperately needs.
Jarnkrok Finding His Game After a Rocky Start to the Season
Jarnkrok’s breakout game of the season was a 5-2 Kraken win over the Washington Capitals on Nov. 21. He tallied a goal and an assist on the night, his first two points as a Kraken player. After missing the first five games of the season in COVID-19 protocols and going scoreless in his first 12 games, he has become a consistent offensive contributor.
In the month of December, he led all Kraken skaters with seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven games. He was also one of only seven Kraken players with a positive plus/minus rating during the month. Jarnkrok is heating up at just the right time to give Seattle hope for a better second half of the season.
He has already started 2022 off with a bang, recording a goal against the Vancouver Canucks on New Year’s Day. With the Kraken having multiple games postponed due to the spread of COVID-19 around the NHL, it is next scheduled to play on Jan. 10 at the Colorado Avalanche. Jarnkrok will look to improve to a four-game point streak as the Kraken look to save its season.
Jarnkrok Is an Experienced NHL Veteran, Former Stanley Cup Finalist
Jarnkrok is no newbie to the NHL, having played a combined 530 career games with the Nashville Predators and Kraken. He played eight seasons in Nashville before he was selected by the Kraken at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Most notably, he tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in 21 games en route to the Predators’ Stanley Cup Final appearance vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.
He was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, 51st overall, in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Never getting an opportunity to suit up for Detroit, he was traded to the Predators along with Patrick Eaves in exchange for David Legwand on March 5, 2014.
As a former draft pick, trade piece, Stanley Cup finalist and expansion draft selection, Jarnkrok has seen a lot in his days playing in the NHL. Yet, he is only 30 years old with likely many seasons left to play. His newest opportunity with the Kraken is turning into a special one, as he is making a name for himself after flying under the radar for the first part of the season. Seattle currently sits last place in the Pacific Division, so there is no extreme pressure for Jarnkrok as he continues discovering his role with the NHL’s newest expansion franchise.
The Kraken have only played one game so far in January, a 5-2 loss to the Canucks at home. It now hits the road for a three-game trip against the Avalanche, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues before returning to Seattle to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 15. Jarnkrok has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last three games and will look to continue his hot streak against some newer competition for the Kraken. While Seattle is currently a long way out from the playoffs, there is still some hope with the resurgence of Jarnkrok and 49 games still left to play this season.
Tom Pepper hosts The Hockey Writers Podcast and writes the “NHL Talk” column every weekday (Monday to Friday). He also writes the daily “NHL Sound Bites” column. He is a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan in Toronto, frequently driving the Queen Elizabeth Way to cheer on his team at KeyBank Center.