Calle Jarnkrok: The Next Detroit Red Wing You Need to Know

PJ SapienzaContributor IIIMarch 26, 2013

The Detroit Red Wings made news last week when they announced  that one of their top prospects, Calle Jarnkrok, will be making his North American debut by joining the Grand Rapids Griffins.

He will only be with the team for a few weeks as he must be back to his Swedish team by April 15.  Still, the crash course in North American hockey will be valuable to his learning process.

He is a highly skilled player who plays strong both ways.  He has a tendency to be more of a set up player than a goal scorer but he is capable of scoring as well. Red Wings scout Ari Vuori  compared him to Henrik Zetterberg adding that ““He wants to have the puck, he wants to hold onto the puck all the time, he makes plays (for his linemates) and he knows how to score himself.” 

He made the Swedish Elite league as an 18-year-old and really held his own.  He has been among the team and league leaders in scoring during in each of his two full seasons with them. During his time, he has 108 points in 152 games.

In the 2011-12 playoffs, he helped lead Brynas to the league championship.  He had 16 points in 16 games during the playoff run. These are impressive stats for anyone, but even more so from someone so young.

He will need to bulk up more over the offseason as it will be difficult for his 6', 176-pound frame to hold up to the rigors of an NHL season.  He will likely be invited to training camp next season for an opportunity to make the Red Wings.

General Manager Ken Holland is high on Jarnkrok saying that “He's a very good prospect, he's just got to get stronger. He's competitive, both offensively and defensively. He has good hands, hockey sense.''

“This gives us a chance to see whether he's strong enough for the game at this point, or whether it's better that he plays for [one more] season in the Eliteserien with Brynas and builds up his muscle strength. We firmly believe in Calle, but we want to do what's right for his development,"

His first game with the Griffins should be on Thursday against the San Antonio Rampage.  He should be able to play nine games with them before heading back to Sweden.  The first six games will be on the road before a three game home stand to end his stay.

How he performs during this stay will go a long way in determining what the team will be doing with him next season.  He has a bright future with the team, the only question is how soon that future will be.

You can follow PJ Sapienza on Twitter.