Maple Leafs Commentary: Calle Jarnkrok’s Tale of Two Seasons

One of the moves the Toronto Maple Leafs made this summer was the signing of Calle Jarnkrok to a four-year $2.1 million contract. The organization also gave him a modified No Trade Clause to boot. 

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Signing Jarnkrok & Trust the Process

The 30-year-old Swede is coming off of a season that saw him score 12 goals and 18 assists (for 30 points) in 66 games. Expanding that to 82 games works out to be 15 goals and 22 assists (for 37 points). That’s not bad, but …

For Jarnkrok, 2021-22 Was a Tale of Two Seasons

If we look at Jarnkrok’s 2021-22, it seemed like a tale of two seasons. After spending his entire eight-year NHL career with the Nashville Predators, Jarnkrok was claimed by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. 

Calle Jarnkrok Seattle Kraken
Calle Jarnkrok, when he was with the Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Jarnkrok played 49 games for the Kraken before being traded to the Calgary Flames. It was a good deal for the Kraken, who negotiated the hefty price of a second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Jarnkrok played in 17 regular season games for the Flames and then suited up for 12 playoff games. 

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Looking at Jarnkrok’s regular season stats for the two teams, it doesn’t even look like they were from the same player. In the 49 games Jarnkrok played for the Kraken, he scored 12 goals and added 14 assists. For the Flames, he scored no goals and added four assists in 17 games.

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Jarnkrok’s production improved somewhat in the playoffs for the Flames. He scored one goal and added four assists in the twelve games he played. 

Expanding Jarnkrok’s Production with Both the Kraken and the Flames

If we expand Jarnkrok’s production with the Kraken and with the Flames to 82 games, it would look like this.

Jarnkrok’s 49 games with the Kraken would expand to 20 goals and 23 assists (for 43 points) over 82 games.

Jarnkrok’s 17 regular-season games with the Flames work out to zero Goals and 19 assists (for 19 points) over 82 games.

Calle Jarnkrok Calgary Flames
Calle Jarnkrok, when he was with the Calgary Flames (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If we add in his production in the 12 playoff games to his 17 regular season games, it would translate into three goals and 20 assists (for 23 points). That would be close to half the level of his production with the Kraken.

When looking at Jarnkrok’s different levels of scoring success, did Jarnkrok struggle for some reason with the Flames? Or, was the difference based upon how he was utilized by his team?

Different Teams, Different Deployment for Jarnkrok

Looking at Jarnkrok’s overall ice time shows he averaged 16:48 for the Kraken. That ranked him fifth for ice time for all Kraken forwards. It likely means he played on Seattle’s second line.  

Related: Maple Leafs Commentary: Where Does Calle Jarnkrok Fit?

With the Flames, Jarnkrok’s ice time in the regular season dropped by almost a full three minutes per game. He averaged 13:50 each game, which ranked him ninth among Flames’ forwards. That probably meant he was a third-line player; and, even then, didn’t get all the minutes. It might also indicate that he spent time on the fourth line. 

In the playoffs, for the Flames Jarnkrok’s ice time increased to 14:30 per game. That still only ranked him eighth of the Calgary forwards, which would have had him once again playing predominantly on the third line.  

With Jarnkrok going from playing the majority of his shifts on the second line for Seattle to playing mostly on Calgary’s third line, it meant his duties would have changed as well. It would also not be surprising, knowing how Darryl Sutter coaches, if his emphasis with Janrkrok was mostly defensive.

How Might This Impact the Maple Leafs’ Decisions?

We could see Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas thinking that, if Jarnkrok had more offensive freedom, he could improve on the 20-goal and the 43-point, 82-game pace he had with the Kraken.

We could also see Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe using Jarnkrok similarly to how Sutter used him – in the role of a shutdown player on the third line, alongside David Kampf and Pierre Engvall. In fact, that’s what we believe will happen.

David Kampf Toronto Maple Leafs
David Kampf, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Either way, Jarnkrok’s signing seems solid for now. The only question might be the four-year term. Jarnkrok will be 31 at the start of the 2022-23 season. That puts him at 35 in the last year of the contract. 

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If you’re not a hockey player, 35 years old seems very young. If you are a hockey player, perhaps that’s a bit different.

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]