In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive into each player projected to be on the opening-night roster. This installment will focus on Calle Jarnkrok, who the Kraken selected from the Nashville Predators.
Position: LW, C, RW
2020-21 Team: Nashville Predators
2020-21 Season: 49 GP, 13 G, 15 A, 28 P
Type of Acquisition: Expansion Draft
Jarnkrok was one of the more sensible options available to Seattle from the Predators, who tried to use the expansion draft to shed salary. Pricey forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen were left exposed, but the Kraken opted for the similarly productive and much more reasonably priced asset in Jarnkrok. Seattle has him under contract for this season at $2 million, after which point he could earn a sizeable raise.
His versatility fits into what general manager Ron Francis looks to be building in Seattle, especially with his forward group. Jarnkrok can play any of the three forward positions, and his defensive capabilities should mesh well with the strong defense and goaltending Francis built. He averaged the most ice time of his career last season and could build on his breakout campaign with the Kraken.
Jarnkrok was a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He never played for the team but played two seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate. The Red Wings then traded him to Nashville in a package used to acquire Predators legend David Legwand. Jarnkrok went on to spent his whole eight-year career with Nashville until being picked in the expansion draft.
Internationally, Jarnkrok played four seasons in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and appeared in two World Junior Championships for his native Sweden. He scored nine points in six games in the U18 World Junior Championships, and contributed five points as a U20 player. In his four SHL seasons with Brynas IK, Jarnkrok totalled 44 goals and 118 points, and served as an alternate captain during his final season with the team.
Value to Seattle
Seattle is getting an extremely reliable, defensive-minded forward in Jarnkrok. He was an important part of the Predators team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, and will bring that championship mentality to a young group of Kraken. He joins a solid group of defensive forwards in Seattle that includes free-agent signee Jaden Schwartz and breakout candidate Mason Appleton. The three forwards could be best utilized on separate lines at even strength, but could join forces when shorthanded to eliminate chances against.
Jarnkrok projects to land in Seattle’s middle six, and which forward position he’ll play may come down to team chemistry. Placing him at center appeals to his ability to play a 200-foot game and could in turn lead his wings to produce more offense with a responsible center. He had his best point-producing pace this past season, where he was on track to collect over 45 points in a full 82-game season. After having his best season offensively, Jarnkrok could see a further breakout if he does land on Seattle’s second forward line. Capable wings like Jared McCann and Joonas Donskoi could vault Jarnkrok’s offense even further and make him an even better two-way forward.
Jarnkrok played with and against high-quality players with the Predators, and should assume a similar role with the Kraken. He likely won’t be used very frequently on the power play, and the team might even have better options while shorthanded. He will, however, shut down the opposition at even strength and can turn those battle victories into scoring chances. His shot is one of his best offensive skills, and he might even be able to harness further offensive capabilities in a larger role with the Kraken.
Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.