No. 7 Calle Jarnkrok (C)
Birthday: September 25, 1991 (Age 24)
Weight: 185 lbs.
NHL Draft: 2010 2nd Round, 51st Overall (Detroit)
Nashville Predators (NHL): 81 P, 16 G, 14 A, 30 P, 14 PIM, +1
Calle Jarnkrok has been such an integral part of the Nashville Predators for the past two seasons that it’s really hard to remember he was acquired in the David Legwand trade. With one of the highest hockey IQs on the Predators’ roster, Jarnkrok quickly gained the trust of the Predators’ coaching staff; especially Peter Laviolette.
Recently signed to a six-year contract paying $2 million annually, the young Swede has been an important penalty killer and has played an effective shut down role, despite his slim size. I also like the fact he gets to where he is supposed to be quickly and is not afraid to get up in the oppositions’ grill.
Jarnkrok is not without his flaws, however. Though he is quick on his skates, very skilled, and a great playmaker, he has yet to really break through offensively. Jarnkrok has, for the most part, been a member of a third-line and that line has been a bit of a black hole for offense. I definitely wouldn’t say that failure to produce is because of Jarnkrok, but he does share some of the blame.
That lack of offensive success can be attributed to two major factors. First and foremost: he is still developing. Last season was only Jarnkrok’s second season in the NHL and he is only just beginning to enter his prime; especially given he had somewhat of a late start to his NHL career.
Secondly, Jarnkrok still needs to put on weight. Though Jarnkrok has the allusiveness, speed, and skill to get by with his slender size, he could definitely use a few pounds. If he did the right thing and added a lot of weight (especially to his lower body) in the offseason, he should find he is able to better maintain the puck and not get pushed around as much.
All in all, Jarnkrok is a key piece to the Predators roster now and for years to come. He has found his niche as a very defensively reliable player but his offense is still improving and potentially on the upswing. Once Mike Fisher and Mike Ribeiro are gone he will take over a middle six center role full time and there is still a chance he could maybe even fill out as a second-line center if he were to start producing more.
2015-2016 Grade: B
NHL Projection: Very Good Third-Line Center
Stats via EliteProspects.com