The Kraken got some good news ahead of the home opener when they announced that forward Calle Järnkrok was activated from the league’s COVID protocol. Järnkrok averaged over 15 minutes of ice time per game in his five preseason appearances. He finished with two assists, both on the power play, before being placed on the NHL COVID protocol just a day before the season opener in Las Vegas.
Järnkrok spent his first eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, where he was a consistent ~30 point player. He has a history of playing solid defense, both at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill.
Having Järnkrok and Gourde both back with the team in advance of their first game at Climate Pledge Arena will be a huge boost for the Kraken in all phases of the game, as both players can be a force on either side of the special teams game as well as during even strength play.
In addition to Järnkrok rejoining the team, forward Colin Blackwell got back on the ice for the first time this year at Thursday’s practice.
Blackwell is another former Predator, having spent his first two seasons with them in 2018 and 2019. But his most recent season, and the one in which he logged the most ice time, came with the New York Rangers. Blackwell was on pace for a 20-goal season last year had he played 82 games and will add another element to the Kraken offense once he returns from a lower-body injury he’s been nursing all offseason. As of now he remains on the injured reserve list, but this is the first sign of progress we’ve seen from the 28-year old.
To make room for Järnkrok, recently-acquired forward Alex Barré-Boulet was placed on waivers by Seattle. Barré-Boulet had one assist in two games with Seattle after being claimed on waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seattle was third in line when he went on waivers last time, so there’s no telling how many other teams may have had a claim on him the first go-around—don’t count on him clearing and making it to Charlotte just yet.