|5v5 P/60||5v5 SAT%||5v5 SAT% Rel||5v5 SCF%||5v5 ZSO%||5v5 PDO||5v5 TOI/Gm|
Calle Jarnkrok put up 9 points in 12 games after being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the end of the 2013-14 season. While this fantastic output came with a PDO of 108.7, expectations for the young Swede were still high coming into the 2014-15 season. It soon became apparent that those expectations would not be met as Jarnkrok was a player who could push possession, but couldn't seem to translate that into real points. In fact, Jarnkrok found himself as a healthy scratch for a few games near the end of the season as he finished with 18 points (7G, 11A).
As much as we (and the coaching staff) expected more from Jarnkrok, his season wasn't really a failure. He may not be the point producer many desire him to be (yet), but he definitely showed tremendous ability to play a strong defensive game with poor teammates. Playing primarily on the third line, Jarnkrok was able to put up strong possession metrics (53.9% SAT% and 1.9 SAT% Rel at 5v5) while also ranking behind only Eric Nystrom and Paul Gaustad in penalty kill minutes per game (1.44 min/gm) among forwards.
It is in this third line role that Jarnkrok appears to excel at. A quick look at his Hero chart provides further evidence of this.
Jarnkrok suppresses shots at elite levels while producing shots at 3rd line levels. In the same mold as Marcus Kruger on Chicago, Jarnkrok appears to fit well as a defensive forward. He seems like the type of player you would give more responsibility, not someone to sit down the stretch.
Nashville struggled to get depth scoring for much of the season so perhaps that is the reasoning behind sitting him. They need players like Jarnkrok to start producing more on the offensive side, but they also can't afford to limit his defensive role because, unlike Gaustad and Nystrom, Jarnkrok is truly an impressive defensive forward.
Jarnkrok didn't have too many offensive highlights, but a pair came against the Colorado Avalanche in separate matches. He clearly has the skill to put the puck in the net. It's just a matter of how much can he do it throughout a whole season now.
Jarnkrok with a great active stick, speed, and finesse to get the breakaway goal against Varlamov.
Jarnkrok wasn't done with the Avalanche as he put in a nice one-timer against them. This time in Denver. It's easy to see why we expect more from him, but at 23, he still has time to improve the offensive side of his game.
Alex Daugherty called Jarnkrok a wolverine before the season started, and that sticks now that the season has finished. Jarnkrok showed that, while undersized, he has the tenacity to play great defensive hockey. Let's hope he can add a little of that to his goal scoring next season.
Ed Note: As we discovered during the season, Jarnkrok is also perfectly embodied by a dog in a wig.
The Road Ahead
Nashville has a long list of free agents to sign this year, Jarnkrok included. He won't be expensive to retain, and Nashville has priority as he is a restricted free agent.
It's pretty clear that Jarnkrok should improve his offense. He should still be considered a good player even if he can't do that next season though. Not many players can play with the linemates he gets and still have positive possession metrics across the board.
Players similar to him seem to be coach favorites so it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff increases his role next year or continue to limit his minutes. At this point, he is an ideal third line center who should see high penalty kill minutes.