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2017-18 Player Reviews: Calle Jarnkrok

Nashville’s most versatile forward had himself a career season.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Season Overview

What a season for Calle Jarnkrok!

As usual, Jarnkrok brought his lethal sniping ability to an already dangerous Preds lineup. He shot 12.4% from the wing, putting up yet another 25 goal campaign. He also put up over 200 shots for the 5th consecutive season, something he’s been known for since he came into the league in 2008. As we all know, his shot volume was something the Preds counted on having in their lineup since they traded Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to get him back in 2014.

Jarnkrok is one of the top 25 best goal scorers in the league since 2008, so you know he’s going to put up some offensive numbers... plus he’s got that ability to get under people’s skin, so... he’s really just a... wait

...wait wait wait wait...

I’m sorry, my bad, that’s James Neal I’m talking about. That guy we definitely should have protected.

Season Overview (Take 2)

What a season for Calle Jarnkrok!

Jarnkrok had a 35 point campaign, including a career high in goals (16) and assists (19). He spent the first half of the season bouncing around with various linemates, with only moderate success, but wherever he went he brought dependability and versatility. He boasts above average speed and vision, great defensive skills, and a decent shot.

Jarnkrok is arguably the Preds’ best penalty killer—though Austin Watson certainly deserves consideration, after the season he had. Jarnkrok logged 155 minutes on the penalty kill, 3rd most on the team among forwards and 2nd most when looking at penalty kill minutes per game. In that time he allowed the 2nd lowest shot attempts per sixty minutes among forwards (102.7), behind only Watson.

At even strength, by the end of the year Jarnkrok had found a semi-permanent line with Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell. That unit was a nice fit, putting up 56.7% shot attempts for in 152 minutes while also generating a +5 goal differential. The blend of toughness and sound defensive hockey combined with “crash the net” opportunism is nice to have around. They were a solid unit and things were humming along nicely.

Then Jarnkrok was knocked out of the lineup for 13 regular season games after a dirty hit by Andrew Copp. He wouldn’t return until Game 4 against the Avalanche.

What was already shaping up to be a career season for Jarnkrok hit a massive roadblock. It was a damn shame.

Jarnkrok was around to provide good defensive depth and versatility. He did that for only $2 million, which is excellent value. The Preds were a better team with Jarnkrok in the lineup and when he wasn’t in the lineup, his absence was obvious (see Games 1-3 against the Avs).

Best Moment

Against the Dallas Stars on December 5th, Jarnkrok collected his 100th NHL point on a shorthanded goal. It was a beautiful example of everything Jarnkrok does so well.

After forcing a defensive clearance on the penalty kill, he flies down the ice, trailing in the middle while Austin Watson chases the loose puck in the corner. Keeping a nice recovery posture higher in the zone, he has the patience to wait out a nice pass from Watson and then roof home a goal by Kari Lehtonen’s glove hand.

Many of Jarnkrok’s goals bear a striking resemblance to this one. Patience, good positioning, and opportunism.

Let’s include a few more “Best Moments” just because we can.

There was his night against the Panthers on January 20th. In a 4-3 Preds win, he finished with a season high three points, all assists. He had a quick one-timer pass to Fiala to make it 1-0, a gritty net-scrum in front which helped Bonino tie the game at 2-2, and then a secondary assist on Fiala’s go ahead goal a little later.

There’s also this overtime goal against the Canucks, which features a healthy dose of Swedish Emotion®.

I guess we should also include literally anytime a camera was near Jarnkrok. Here’s some examples from over the years:

Worst Moment

It probably has to be that absurd no-call against the Jets, when Jarnkrok got his shoulder rearranged courtesy of Andrew Copp. Here’s the hit, in case you missed it.

No penalty, no hearing, no fine, no suspension. Just a major injury that caused Jarnkrok to miss 13 regular season games and 6 more playoff games.

And Jarnkrok wasn’t exactly the same player when he came back. He was forced into a purely defensive and somewhat limited role on the bottom line with Mike Fisher and Ryan Hartman, which meant he couldn’t regenerate any of the late season chemistry he had with Hartnell and Bonino. He finished with one point in seven playoff games and only had seven shots total.

Jarnkrok now has the off-season to fully recuperate from the shoulder injury and once again prepare for his role as the Preds’ most versatile forward.

Grade: B+

All stats courtesy of Corsica Hockey, Natural Stat Trick, and Hockey Reference.