The Calgary Flames are all-in for this season. There is no doubt about it now.
General manager Brad Treliving pulled off his second big trade of the season yesterday afternoon when he acquired Seattle Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok to fill out the forward ranks. Jarnkrok was noted to be a target of the Flames for a while, and a target we previously noted to be a realistic trade target for Calgary.
After acquiring Tyler Toffoli last month, Jarnkrok is now another key piece of the puzzle for the Flames who now look to be more than primed for a long playoff run.
Let’s break down the trade an the impact that Jarnkrok will have on the lineup.
The Deal for Jarnkrok
Jarnrkok was a highly coveted player in the league the last week or so, with the Flames beating out the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals for the Swedish forward. Funnily enough, with Toffoli and Jarnkrok being members of the Flames, it’s two targets the Kings were pushing for and now lost to a division rival.
That benign said though, Jarnkrok was not a cheap addition. The Flames sent a second-round pick in 2022, a third-round pick in 2023, and a seventh-round pick in 2024 to acquire the 30-year-old pending UFA. The first two picks were undoubtedly for the player, while the 2024 seventh-round pick was for the Seattle Kraken to retain 50% of Jarnkrok’s $2M salary. This leaves the Flames with just a $1M cap hit for the rest of the season, and gives them a bit—and we really mean a bit—of flexibility.
Ya Boi Boi Calle
Jarnkrok was announced as the Kraken’s pick by Marshawn Lynch in spectacular fashion. His arrival to Calgary though is a lot more business this time around.
Now the impact that Jarnkrok is going to have on the Flames remains to be seen, but on paper it is an absolutely no-brainer move that makes the team far deeper than they were. Which is funny considering just how good the Flames have been this season.
Jarnkrok is a right-shot centre who has spent time on the wing, and can play in pretty much all situations. This is what GMBT had to say about his play after acquiring him:
I’ve always considered him kind of a fixer, he’s a defensive fixer on any line that can chip in offensively… We think he can touch a bunch of different parts of the game, he gives us more depth—and we like the player—so we’re excited to add him.Brad Treliving
That is the best way to describe the player: a defence-focused forward who can chip in offensively up and down your lineup. See a theme here?
This is further proven when digging into his stats:
What is fascinating about Jarnkrok is his ability to play 5v5 and on the power play and penalty kill. His defensive numbers are strong, while also having a unique finishing ability that could really help out the bottom-six.
Although his offensive numbers and possession stats don’t look the best when viewed in this perspective, his xGA/60 is well above average and shows just why the Flames wanted to acquire him. They know they have a player that can focus on his own zone, while having the ability to pitch in where needed.
There is also the personal connection here which makes a ton of sense. His cousin is Elias Lindholm, one of his best friends is Jacob Markstrom, and oh did we mention he was Swedish? The Flames clearly identified a player that could fit in with the team immediately—similar to Toffoli—and not mess with the current chemistry.
The Flames’ lineup choices
The fun debate now begins as to where Jarnkrok will fit within the lineup. There is no doubt the team wants him due to his ability to play down the middle, so it would be surprising to see him somewhere else come Friday, or whenever his first game will be.
Now there are a few options the Flames could utilize. They could play him on the third line with Andrew Mangiapane and Tyler Toffoli to start, leaving the “shutdown” line of Blake Coleman, Mikael Backlund, and Trevor Lewis intact. Or they could shift Mangiapane back to the second line with Backlund and Coleman, and then deploy the lines as follows:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Dube – Jarnkrok – Toffoli
Lucic – Monahan – Lewis
I think this deployment gives them far more options to start off with, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just insert Jarnrkok and move Dube to the fourth line instead of Brett Ritchie. When looking at the likes of Monahan, Lewis, and Richardson, it’s abundantly clear just how much of an upgrade Jarnkrok is:
Of course the luxury in making the move just a bit sooner than Monday is that the Flames now have 22 games left in the season to figure out the best deployment heading into the postseason.
For years the Flames fanbase has been clamoring for GMBT to make a move at the deadline, and now he has made two massive ones in just over a month’s time. Call it redemption time?
This just signals how much the Flames are buying into this season—as they absolutely should be. This is the best team we have seen in a long time, and Jarnkrok simply makes them better.
Their playoff success will be determined in a few months, but the Flames were able to acquire a strongly desired player without moving out any roster players or significant prospects.
Tidy work for the Flames yesterday.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images