The final remnant of the 2014 trade that sent David Legwand away from Nashville for the first time in his 15-year career can still be seen lurking around opposing teams' nets, racking up points seemingly without being noticed. Calle Jarnkrok is arguably one of the NHL's most reliable third-line forwards, averaging over 30 points per season since 2015-16.
If the 2019-20 NHL season is to resume at some point in the future, Jarnkrok- who has 34 points as of Mar. 12- will most likely surpass his 35-point 2017-18 campaign for the best season of his career. Jarnkrok has already met his assist record at 19 this season, and is easily on pace to break through his goal record of 16. His +46 career on-ice rating is a testament to his ability to affect positive change on the ice for the Predators, while decreasing chances for the opposition.
Jarnkrok was drafted 51st overall by Detroit in 2010, but never dressed in a regular season game as a Red Wing. Once David Poile got to him, however, Jarnkrok was NHL ready. He played just 12 games in the March and April of the 2013-14 season, but recorded two goals, seven assists, and a +7 rating in that short time.
Before the season pause on Mar. 12, Jarnkrok had five points in the last eight games. Despite not tallying any points in the entire month of January, Jarnkrok is still bound to have a career year if/when the season resumes. With a career-high 16 goals in both the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, Jarnkrok is a mere two goals away from surpassing his record. He's pretty much guaranteed to obtain it too, as he's averaging 0.53 points per game- another career-best.
Among Preds skaters who have played in more than 50 games this season, Jarnkrok ranks an impressive fourth in offensive zone start percentage (oZS%). This means that while Jarnkrok is on the ice, 55.8 percent of the Preds' faceoffs occur in front of the opposing goalie. Jarnkrok is tied with Matt Duchene at 136 shots for the fifth-most on the team and is converting around 11 percent of them into goals- all while skating in about 100 fewer minutes than Duchene. Jarnkrok can also be expected to record the second-highest point shares of his career by the end of the 2019-20 season, currently contributing 3.3 PS (offensive point shares + defensive point shares).
Interestingly, Jarnkrok stands alone this season as the only Preds player with more than one shorthanded goal.
As much as Jarnkrok's high career on-ice rating says about his offensive capabilities, it also demonstrates his backchecking ability. Jarnkrok has a +4 rating on the 2019-20 season- which doesn't sound incredibly enticing at first- but actually puts him significantly far above most of the Preds' high-end forwards.
As a forward, Jarnkrok doesn't have too much command over the Preds' backcheck, but he's clearly applying himself to where it counts.
GENERAL EFFECTIVENESS AND TEAM INFLUENCE
A native of Gavle, Sweden, Jarnkrok played three seasons with the hometown Swedish Hockey League's Brynas IF Gavle club before being drafted by Detroit. Jarnkrok played his final two seasons in Gavle with his future teammate, Mattias Ekholm. Jarnkrok and Ekholm also skated for Sweden together in the 2014 IIHF World Championship, taking home the bronze medal after being beat in the semifinals by Russia- whose roster featured Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
Before being called up to Nashville, Jarnkrok got exactly six games worth of reps in Milwaukee with Austin Watson, Colton Sissons, and Filip Forsberg. Jarnkrok signed a six-year, $12 million deal with the Preds in July of 2016- making him one of Poile's bargain forces on the ice.
Jarnkrok is a guy whose name is annually talked about as a trade pawn the Preds can play to possibly pick up a few valuable draft picks. After this season, though, I'm not quite so sure Poile will (or should) be willing to part with such a consistent bottom-half forward at the drop of a hat.