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The Malik Report

Recapping the Legwand trade and Calle Jarnkrok’s take on the move

Here's an attempt to summarize the Nashville and Swedish takes on the Legwand-for-Eaves-and-Jarnkrok trade:

The Red Wings' decision to trade top prospect Calle Jarnkrok to the Nashville Predators in the David Legwand trade may rank up there with the Federko-for-Oates deal in terms of the controversy it's stirred up amongst Red Wings fans, myself included, so you should know that while Aftonbladet's Linus Norberg, TSN's Bob McKenzie and myself have all heard rumors--from people that had no benefit in lying to us--that Jarnkrok was considering heading back to Sweden to play for his hometown team, Brynas IF in Gavle...

Jarnkrok spoke to the Grand Rapids media after last night's Griffins win over Chicago, as the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner noted...

The 6-foot, 188-pound Jarnkrok, who was third on the Griffins in scoring with 36 points (13-23-36) and had a plus-19 rating, stuck around and said goodbyes with players in the locker room afterward.

“I’m going to miss all the guys, miss the team, the coaches and everything, but it seems like a good opportunity,” said Jarnkrok, who has been hot of late with nine points (3-6-9) the past six games, including back-to-back three-point games.

He said was sleeping following the morning skatearound when he learned of the trade about 3:30 p.m.

“I was shocked a little bit,” he said. “A lot of things were going around in my head.”

The 22-year-old Gavle, Sweden, Detroit’s second pick in 2010, is expected to be assigned to Milwaukee. The Griffins play at the Admirals on March 30.

...

“The Jarnkrok trade happened later in the day and caught guys as they were coming to the rink,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He was a big part of this team, and a good friend to a lot of these guys, so I thought we did a real good job through our leadership of focusing in and going on.”

Part of the Griffins' slate of highlights from last night's 4-2 win over Chicago include Jarnkrok speaking with the media (starting at the 2-minute mark)...

Fox 17's Steve Amorose also spoke with Jarnkrok...

Predators GM David Poile spoke with the Tennessean's Josh Cooper about Jarnkrok...

The Predators received a prospect they said they were high on in Jarnkrok.

Although his numbers with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League were not huge — 36 points in 57 games — he was a second-round pick and the Red Wings have been solid at developing their young talent.

“I think he’s a player who has a really good chance to compete for a job next year,” Poile said. “This kid has terrific hockey sense, great hands. He’s a really good skater and a really good competitor.”

Eaves is just a throw-in. Who knows what will happen with the third-round pick.

But the Predators were able to trade an asset they probably weren’t going to re-sign in Legwand and got a youngster who will play in the NHL someday.

For the record, Cooper reports that Eaves is in Nashville presently...

Eaves, the lone NHL player the Predators acquired in the Legwand deal, will be in the lineup tonight.

He won’t play the same type of offensive type of role as Legwand, but will provide depth.

“Patrick is a heart and soul hardworking guy,” Trotz said. “He’s a penalty killer — hopefully he will help our penalty killing. I know he’s very committed.”

Said Eaves: “I’m quite familiar with a lot of the guys. It’s good to be playing with them now. I’m really excited to be here and be a part of this and hopefully make a good run here at the end.”

The Predators' website posted a quip from Poile about Jarnkrok, as well as David Poile speaking about the Legwand trade...

If you want to read more about Legand's legacy, the Predators website's John Manasso posted an article in which Poile praises Legwand's legacy and summarizes the above 9-minute video...

Legwand played 956 games for the Predators, the most in their history. As general manager David Poile said in a statement, Legwand, in his 15 seasons, had been part of some of the Predators' greatest moments and also their trials. With Legwand, a native of suburban Michigan, traded to the Detroit Red Wings, Poile said he wants to give an opportunity to younger players including Colin Wilson, and perhaps some to prospects who are with the Predators' top minor-league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

"You've heard what I've said: I want to have a different look with our forwards and I'm certainly not picking on [Legwand], who is our leading scorer (40 points), and he played well, but I want to have a different look with our forwards," Poile said. "We've got to play a little bit differently or they've got to score; somehow they've got to score a little bit more."

...

"It's hard to believe I watched David Legwand play junior hockey as a 17-year-old and met his parents, saw this young guy that now leaves us … married, two kids," Poile said. "He's our player rep. Where he wasn't so worldly when he came in here, he's a much more rounded person and a player. Everything that's happened so far in this franchise, David has been a part of. Big wins, big goals."

Asked what moments might stand out the most for him, Poile came back a couple of times to when Legwand was the first player to earn a penalty shot in overtime in Madison Square Garden. It came on Dec. 23, 2000, and he delivered a 3-2 victory against the New York Rangers by beating goalie Kirk McLean. Poile remembered Legwand doing a leg kick that was straight out of the film "The Mighty Ducks."

One of the difficult assessments of Legwand's career with Nashville is perhaps he did not live up to the potential of his draft position. He was taken second in 1998, one pick after Vincent Lecavalier. He was never captain and scored 20 goals twice in his 15 seasons.

In his draft year, Legwand came off a season when he scored 54 goals and had 51 assists (105 points) in 59 games for Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. Poile took a bit of organizational responsibility for some of what could be perceived as Legwand's offensive shortcomings, because Nashville employs a responsible, defense-first system.

"That's really interesting because it seems 14 or 15 years later we're talking about our forwards and center-ice position; that's how important I felt about that," Polie said. "That of the players that would be there, that would be a nice foundation piece to start off with a center-iceman. I think David was spectacular the year we drafted him in junior. I think in some ways maybe it's a little bit of our systems, or what have you, maybe he didn't live up to his offensive expectations when he came out of junior. But in terms of his all-round game where our coach could use him in all situations, his consistency or being in all the games, not too many injures that he had, he was always there."

The Tennessean's Cooper spoke with Legwand about moving to Detroit...

“It was a business decision. It was pretty much a sport decision and a mutual decision on both sides,” Legwand told The Tennessean in a phone interview. “I obviously gave it all I had. I think some things could have gone a little better a couple of those years. And a couple of those teams, from 2005-06 through 2006-07, you wanted to win, you wanted to have a Stanley Cup go down Broadway, and that didn’t happen in the first 15 years.”

The 33-year-old Legwand, who has played in 956 games with the Predators, had to waive his no-trade clause so Nashville could make the deal. The Detroit-area native was in the final year of his contract, meaning he would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

“David never asked for a trade. David was certainly hoping at the end of the day that we could find a way to sign him,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “There was not a clear path to do that. … I did what I had to do for the franchise today, but these are always tough decisions when you’re with somebody for a long period of time.”

And Ken Holland about the move...

“He’s good defensively. He’s a guy that puts up 50-60 points and he’s an established, legitimate NHL player who can kill penalties and can play against anybody from the other team,” Holland said. “That’s sort of been his roles, so hopefully we get to do the call to the league soon and we can really talk names.”

Legwand is also thrust into the playoff race — an environment where he always excelled — and will play with elite first-line players for the first time since the Predators exited the 2004-05 lockout.

“Obviously Franzen is a big body with big hands, and Nyquist can score and make plays and do those things around the puck and all that stuff. It should be fun,” Legwand said. “I’ve talked to everyone up there and I’m excited to get up there and play.”

And Cooper spoke with the Predators about losing Legwand, too...

“Over time, me and Leggy were like the father/son relationship,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I would yell at him and all that, but I was just trying to make him better as a person. He was a real class act for us, so I miss him.”

Players knew Legwand was Nashville’s most tradeable asset, so the deal wasn’t a shock.

“It was just one of those things that happens in hockey,” forward Mike Fisher said. “We all figured it was a possibility. We all hoped he would stay, but they have to do what’s best for the organization moving forward.”

But the most important article I've found regarding all of this comes from Jarnkrok himself, who told Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom that he doesn't want to go home to Sweden (though time will tell of course):

Jarnkrok is playing for the second year with the farm team Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, and says he was shocked to have to change teams.

"Yes, you could say that I was. This wasn't something I'd anticipated, but though it's sad to leave all my friends here in Grand Rapids, it feels good to get a new start with Nashville."

Today, Thursday, he'll travel to Milwaukee, where the Predators have their farm team.

"The hope is that I'll play with Milwaukee on Friday."

Has Nashville's management said anything in more details about their plans for you?

"No, they called, greeted me and welcomed me to the team, and said I'd start in Milwaukee. Then we'll take it from there."

How has the season in the AHL been for you?

"It was a little sluggish at first, but it's gotten better and better. I've learned the game on the smaller rink and now I'm playing better."

What about the news that you are on your way home to Sweden and Brynas after this season?

"I haven't said that. I don't know where that information comes from. I have a year on my NHL contract left, so it's not true."

Now you get to play with Filip Forsberg. Do you know him well?

"Yes, and in Milwaukee I also know Patric Cehlin and Magus Helberg. And in Nashville, I know Mattias Ekholm, so that feels good."

Jarnkrok's played 57 games in the AHL this season and has registered 36 points, 13 goals and 23 assists.

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Comments

sputman's avatar

I’m not a big fan of the new Google Glass design.

Posted by sputman on 03/06/14 at 04:25 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Really does sound like the rumor of him going back after the season was bogus.  He also mentioned in his quotes at the top to being “shocked” at the news.  That doesn’t sound like a guy hat was looking for an out.

Probably time to put the rumor to rest and not make excuses to reasonins for the trade beyond “Kenny really overpaid”.

Posted by Primis on 03/06/14 at 04:28 PM ET

Avatar

I really hope Jarnkrok has a great career. Just out of spite.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 03/06/14 at 05:07 PM ET

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Remember when we dumped Leino and people were upset about dumping a prospect for little return?  This is better.

Posted by maltby18 on 03/06/14 at 05:56 PM ET

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Hey George, First I would like to thank you for your dedication to Red Wings news and updates. My question for you tonight is , Did the wings give up on Jankrok because they have too many undersized players? Skill and speed is one thing. But how do the wings evaluate heart, work ethic, determination and pride. Last time we had all that, we were in the finals two years straight

 

 

Posted by Wings2426 on 03/06/14 at 10:55 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Holland called Jarnkrok a “bottom-six” forward and intimated that he was indeed contemplating going back to Sweden instead of staying in the AHL for a second season—which is where he would’ve been with the Wings—and I thought it was telling that the Predators also believe that Jarnkrok, who is 5’10” and about 175, still needs to work on his strength.

Did the Wings give up on him because he was too small or too far behind where he wanted to be?

I don’t know, because the Wings have NEVER been a team to discriminate regarding undersized players. Zetterberg isn’t big, Kronwall isn’t big, Tatar’s undersized, Pulkkinen, who just got called up, isn’t big, but it’s never mattered.

The issues are *strength,* and to a similar extent, *commitment,* and it sounds like the Wings were worried about those issues. The Wings want self-improvers of any size/shape/form. They spent a long time and a lot of effort bringing Jarnkrok’s strength up to snuff, and maybe they felt that he wasn’t showing a desire to continue to improve (in addition to the frustration/homesickness).

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/06/14 at 11:05 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.