The Detroit Red Wings are convinced Calle Jarnkrok will be a productive centre in the NHL. The bigger question is, when will he make the leap?
Already in the first season of his three-year entry-level NHL contract playing for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, Jarnkrok — ranked No. 1 in Red Wings Central’s mid-season prospect ranking — could crack Detroit’s lineup as early as this fall.
In large part, that will depend on how well he performs at the IIHF world championship in May, assuming he makes Team Sweden.
“We’ll see how he finishes,” said Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “We all feel he’s a top-six forward in the long run. He’s a smart player, he works really hard, he’s got good hands, good hockey sense. Adapting to the game, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
Jarnkrok, compared by the Red Wings to Henrik Zetterberg, tied for 14th in Elite League scoring last season with 39 points in 50 games and helped Brynas win a championship. This season, Brynas has struggled with the losses of several key players, including Jarnkrok’s linemate, Jakob Silfverberg.
The 5-foot-11 174-pounder worked with a personal trainer this summer and got stronger. He leads Brynas in scoring with 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points in 46 games and sits 10th on the league’s points list.
“I feel when I see him, he’s the same kind of player (as last season) and he looks stronger,” Andersson said. “He’s done fine scoring-wise, but the team is struggling and I know that’s very frustrating for him.”
01. C Calle Jarnkrok (–), Brynas (SEL), 46-11-24-35-12, -6, 122 SOG. See above.
02. G Petr Mrazek (–), Grand Rapids (AHL), 16-7-1, 1 SO, 2.26 GAA, .916 SV%. Nothing about the pros has fazed Mrazek, the franchise’s goaltender of the future.
03. LW Tomas Tatar (–), Grand Rapids (AHL), 44-19-20-39-44, plus-13, 147 SOG. The Red Wings’ surplus of forwards is the only thing keeping Tatar out of the NHL.
04. C Riley Sheahan (–), Grand Rapids (AHL), 42-13-10-23-25, plus-13, 67 SOG. He’s having a terrific AHL rookie campaign, aside from an embarrassing off-ice incident.
05. D Ryan Sproul (+1), Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), 34-17-30-47-33, plus-4. He just keeps scoring and his upside rivals that of any prospect in the system.
06. RW Tomas Jurco (-1), Grand Rapids (AHL), 42-6-5-11-80, minus-5, 54 SOG. It’s easy to forget he just turned 20. He has size and first-round skill level.
07. D Xavier Ouellet (–), Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL), 34-7-24-31-32, plus-16, 117 SOG. World junior was a huge development opportunity for the two-way defender.
08. D Mattias Backman (+6), Linkoping (SEL), 45-1-20-21-30, plus-8, 55 SOG. Mobility, size, smarts and offensive skill: Backman is putting it all together.
09. C Landon Ferraro (-1), Grand Rapids (AHL), 44-16-17-33-31, even, 98 SOG. He’s making people remember why he was a consensus first-rounder in his draft year.
10. C Joakim Andersson (-1), Grand Rapids (AHL), 35-10-17-27-55, even, 81 SOG. Like Tatar, he probably could be playing in the NHL right now but is buried by depth.
11. D Brian Lashoff (NR), Grand Rapids (AHL), 36-2-4-6-23, plus-4, 38 SOG. Averaging 17 minutes in five NHL games and looking like a useful, cap-friendly No. 6-8 defenseman.
12. LW Teemu Pulkkinen (–), Helsinki Jokerit (FIN), 49-12-16-28-41, plus-3, 218 SOG. Sniper-to-be has finally found his stride after an early-season slump.
13. RW Martin Frk (-3), Halifax (QMJHL), 37-21-33-54-68, plus-20, 110 SOG. Very similar to Pulkkinen, but not doing it at as high a level.
14. G Jake Paterson (-3), Saginaw (OHL), 17-13-2, 2 SO, 3.45 GAA, .902 SV%. Showing great potential, Paterson gives the Red Wings good organizational depth in goal.
15. D Alexei Marchenko (+5), CSKA Moscow (KHL), 42-4-5-9-6, even, 45 SOG. The two-way defenseman is expected to sign and play in the AHL next season.
16. D Adam Almquist (-3), Grand Rapids (AHL), 41-6-12-18-24, plus-6, 57 SOG. Adjusting to North America, but size and foot-speed concerns hold him back.
17. LW Andreas Athanasiou (–), Barrie (OHL), 48-21-30-51-26, plus-12. An incredibly fast skater, Athanasiou has bounced back from a disappointing draft year.
18. LW Marek Tvrdon (-2), Vancouver (WHL), 18-8-14-22-16, plus-2. A season-ending injury will hurt his development, but he has size, skill and an NHL contract.
19. C Alan Quine (–), Belleville (OHL), 36-13-32-45-14, minus-2. He’s been lighting it up since a January trade and is making a strong push for a contract.
20. D Nick Jensen (-5), St. Cloud State (NCAA), 28-3-18-21-10, plus-13, 41 SOG. The potential is there, but as a college junior, his production has slipped.