Calle Järnkrok is one of those players in gold that can play multiple roles. He’s had time as a top-six winger, a center on all four lines, and a lower-six staple.
You won’t find many forwards that have played with this many different linemates. Järnkrok bounced between every possible line combination, spending the most amount of time with Craig Smith and Nick Bonino. Some of the lineup shuffle might be due to the injuries that plagued Nashville last season. Järnkrok is serviceable in nearly any role and he’s played as such.
In 79 games with Nashville in 2018-2019, Järnkrok posted 10 goals and 16 assists. He went long stretches without scoring. His shooting percentage took a literal nosedive. After an incredible hat trick in November against the Kings, Järnkrok only added four more goals the rest of the season. He was completely absent in the playoffs, only posting two assists.
How about that hat trick?
This season was a bit of a let down for fans of Järnkrok. I expected #19 to find a role similar to what he had last season with Scott Hartnell. He didn’t. Often invisible, Järnkrok took a back seat to more visible skaters.
We are far past the days of discussing how Järnkrok was protected in the 2017 Vegas Expansion Draft. After a few seasons with 15-16 goals, 2018-2019 can be viewed as a bit of a rough year for Järnkrok.
At 27 years old, Järnkrok is a known quantity going into a new season. This season, he will likely slot in on the third line, but his linemates remain a bit of a mystery. He could play alongside Colton Sissons, Craig Smith, Rocco Grimaldi, Nick Bonino, Austin Watson, or Daniel Carr.
I would expect around 10-14 goals from Järnkrok this season. Can he rebound to numbers closer to his last three NHL seasons?
I find it hard to give Järnkrok anything lower than this because of the lineup shuffling he always seems to be a victim of. Defensively, Järnkrok is as solid as any Predator. He needs to regain his scoring touch in order to continue to slot in on the third line. As mentioned above, we already know what kind of player he is. It’s up to “Ironhook” to prove his worth for Nashville.