Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok was traded Wednesday to the Calgary Flames for a second-, third- and seventh-round draft pick in coming seasons.
It’s the first of what could be multiple moves by the first-year club ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline as it jettisons players not under contract for next season. Kraken captain Mark Giordano was honored ahead of Wednesday’s contest against Tampa Bay for having recently played in his 1,000th NHL game. But after heading out on the ice in-uniform, accompanied by his family, he was held out of the lineup as a healthy scratch — prompting speculation he could be dealt within 24 hours.
The second-round pick for Jarnkrok, 30, will be in this summer’s draft, the third-rounder next year and the seventh-rounder in 2024. In return, the Kraken agreed to eat half of what’s left from Jarnkrok’s $2 million salary for this season to help the salary cap squeezed Flames.
Kraken general manager Ron Francis said the salary amount absorbed only equals about $220,000. “We have a lot of room left,” he said.
Francis would not comment on any imminent deals involving Giordano, saying only he was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons. “You don’t want to take a risk that he plays and gets hurt.”
Swedish native Jarnkrok was selected from Nashville in last summer’s expansion draft and was tied for fourth on the team in points with 26, tallying 12 goals and 14 assists. He missed much of the season’s opening month because of COVID-19 protocol and a subsequent upper-body injury.
But Jarnkrok had come on strong the past two months, scoring seven of his goals and adding seven assists. His physical style lends itself to playoff hockey and his postseason experience with the Predators left it pretty clear he’d draw trade interest.
Asked about a trade possibility ahead of the Kraken’s game in Vancouver a few weeks back, Jarnkrok replied: “We’re not in a playoff spot right now so there’s going to be a lot of attention. But I’m just trying to play my game. Trying to help this team win. So, I try not to think about that.”
The Kraken are loaded with salary cap room and therefore can maximize trade return values with teams pushed up against the limit. The Cap Friendly website estimated the Kraken on Wednesday had utilized $73.65 million of space against the league’s $81 million limit.
Francis has said the team is looking to deal players not under contract next season in return for draft picks and prospects. But he’ll also remain open to three-way trades in which he’d be a third party helping a cap-stressed team complete a deal with another club by lending out some of his cap space for picks or prospects in return.