Both forwards will compete for full-time roster spots with Nashville later this fall, and all of the development and games they can get under their belts now is important. Currently playing with the Predators minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, the Swedish forwards’ performances in the American Hockey League have been a window into what they will do at the NHL level next season.
“Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg are NHL-caliber players for the 2014-15 Nashville Predators campaign. Both highly benefitted from spending a bulk of this past season at the AHL level. They’ve been able to digest the North American style of hockey and really sharpen their games. Forsberg has been especially fun to see evolve in his game in Milwaukee this year. He is under the Nashville microscope, sure, but he is still so young. To see him elevate his defensive game by season’s end–to the point he is a quality penalty killer–has been far more fun for me to see than his flashy stick handling. Predators fans should expect both to start their seasons off in the NHL. I only hope both get to play similar capacities as they have with the Admirals. Inconsistent playing time leads to inconsistent hockey.”
Currently, Forsberg, Jarnkrok and the Admirals are engaged in a best-of-five playoff series with the Toronto Marlies and the two Swedish forwards have continued to have moments of brilliance. Both with a goal and an assist through two games, the main knock against either player would be that they haven’t taken over a game in the series yet. The Admirals lost games one and two by a combined score of 11-4.
On a positive note, both players’ awareness on defense has been criticized in their scouting reports, but recently the pair has spent time on the Admirals penalty kill (sometimes together). In Nashville where defense is of high importance, this is a good sign; even if the players’ offensive touch has dipped some recently.
So what’s the bottom line, have Jarnkrok and Forsberg done enough to indicate they’re NHL ready? The answer appears to be, yes.