Calle Jarnkrok had the exact same season he always does

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 month ago
This article is brought to you by bet365!
When it comes to Calle Jarnkrok I can probably look up the first season in review post that a Nashville writer put together for him, copy and paste it in here, switch out Predators for Leafs, and call it a day. There is a consistency to Jarnkrok, and knowing what to expect from a player is not a bad thing.
So that’s not entirely true. Calle Jarnkrok played the same role as the previous season, that of the lineup card journeyman, but his results and health took a step back. He went from 73 games to 52 games. 20 goals to 10 goals. He did trend upward in time on ice, a gain that occurred at even strength as his powerplay and penalty kill time remained nearly identical to the previous season.
With the move from Alex Kerfoot to Max Domi, the Leafs needed someone to fill in part of the two-way forward gap. That fell on Jarnkrok. His role focused on the defensive side of the puck than his previous season in Toronto and interestingly enough, Jarnkrok’s on-ice differentials improved as a result, even if his defensive numbers declined.
Jarnkrok seemed to play with everyone, as is tradition, and he had nearly identical time with Auston Matthews and John Tavares, although Max Domi and Nick Robertson were far and away his most frequent linemates. Given the nature of the play from Robertson and Domi, it’s pretty safe to see the outline for Calle Jarnkrok on that line and when you look at the numbers above, he deserves some appreciation as a miracle worker and Jarnkrok’s best on-ice numbers came when playing with these two players as well. There is something to be said for consistency, even when lineup flexibility is your selling point.
Jarnkrok is in many ways a coach’s dream, but it still doesn’t feel certain that Calle will return to Toronto next season. With a $2.1M AAV cap hit in each of the next two seasons, Jarnkrok is a little more expensive than the Leafs might want to spend in their bottom six, especially if the core four forwards are all being run back next season. Jarnkrok is very good at what he does but the affordable contracts on Bobby McMann, Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, and Pontus Holmberg could point to the Leafs going in another direction in the bottom six, especially if they want to earmark any available cap room for improving their defence.
Jarnkrok will also be 33 at the start of the season and having concerns about the age of a player who missed 30 games is fair. Jarnkrok was also held pointless in the playoffs, which again, he’s primarily on the Leafs to provide defensive play, but not receiving any secondary scoring results from Jarnkrok was likely noticed even if he had some decent looks.
The fact that Jarnkrok seems like he could have spent his entire career on Craig Berube coached teams is a reason he’ll likely stay and possibly even see a bigger role. You could tell me that Jarnkrok played on a line with Brayden Schenn and Alex Steen during the Blues championship, and I wouldn’t bat an eye. He fits the profile of players like Oskar Sundqvist, and Steen.
The Leafs may be reliant on Jarnkrok even more if they are injecting more youth into their lineup. Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten will make cases for NHL jobs in the fall, a trusted veteran makes their lives easier.
If the Maple Leafs move on from Mitch Marner that is one less defensively minded forward in their lineup and emphasizes the need for someone like Jarnkrok to step up, possibly even in top-six forward capacity.
And the reality of the NHL is that while changes are expected with the Leafs this summer the moves aren’t going to be at the volume predicted by armchair GMs and unless someone is specifically knocking on the Leafs door looking to overpay for Calle Jarnkrok, he isn’t going anywhere.
As a result of that reality, I’m setting an Outlook calendar reminder for next June with a link to this post. It’s going to tell me to copy and paste that Calle Jarnkrok played reliable hockey in a number of roles for 15 minutes a night. He had 20-30 points and double-digit goal totals.
Data sourced from Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

Check out these posts...