Calle Jarnkrok sitting next to Simon Benoit and William Nylander
Photo credit: NHL

The writing may already be on the wall for one forward in Toronto

Published February 24, 2024 at 8:37 PM

All signs are currently pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs looking a bit different two weeks from now, with the March 8th trade deadline looming. There is most likely going to be at least one addition on the blueline, but some feel as though the middle six could also use a bit of an upgrade. However, if that's the case, who is the odd man out?

With how well the Leafs have been playing of late, it would be tough to pick someone to take out of the active lineup. Of course, that decision becomes slightly easier with the excitement that comes along with acquiring a new player - especially if that player is a tangible upgrade. Unfortunately for one Leaf, a stint on LTIR might end up actually costing him his job in Toronto, despite being a very useful player in his own right.

For Calle Jarnkrok, the 2022-23 season was a big one, with the Swedish winger posting 20 goals for the first time in his NHL career, as well as a career-high 39 points. For a defensive-minded forward who excels on the penalty kill, that's not too shabby. This season, prior to breaking his knuckle at practice a couple of short weeks ago, Jarnkrok had amassed 10 goals and 19 points in 46 games, putting him on a similar, although slightly lower pace. The team certainly misses him on the penalty kill, but with the team riding a 6-game win streak with a chance to make it 7 straight against Colorado tonight, the Leafs are showing that they can win without him, which may be bad news for Jarnkrok when you look at how Bobby McMann and Nick Robertson have played as of late.

Jarnkrok carries a cap hit of $2.1M and still has two seasons left on his current contract after this one. He also happens to be on the wrong side of 30, at 32 years old, and will be 33 when next season starts. When you consider the fact that the Leafs are already going to face some difficult decisions when they bring in an upgrade or two at the deadline, even before they have to try to squeeze Jarnkrok back into the picture, it becomes pretty clear that the time to part with him might be now.

Excluding tonight's game against the Avalanche, the line of Bobby McMann, John Tavares and Nicholas Robertson has been red hot, amassing a combined 8 points in their previous 2 games. That pace might not continue, but the trio is showing strong signs of early chemistry, so Keefe may not want to break them up. Also, adding Jarnkrok to the 4th line might not necessarily be the right move either, when you consider his $2.1M cap hit. That might be a little too rich for the 4th line with David Kampf already making $2.4M per season himself.

Is the writing already on the wall for Jarnkrok in Toronto? Not necessarily, but his job doesn't actually seem all that secure right now either.
February 24   |   743 answers
The writing may already be on the wall for one forward in Toronto

Do you think Calle Jarnkrok will be traded before the deadline?

Yes46562.6 %
No27837.4 %
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