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Flames' Agostino, Predators' Jarnkrok set for debuts

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators will get a chance to glimpse parts of their respective futures when Flames forward Kenny Agostino and Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok make their NHL debuts Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"I'm feeling great. I'm excited," said Agostino, who capped his career at Yale University with 14 goals and 32 points in 33 games. "I'd be lying if I said I probably won't have some nerves that first shift. Everyone's been telling me, the coaches, players, it's just hockey. Have fun. Enjoy it."

After his four-year collegiate career with Yale ended last week, Agostino signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Flames on Monday.

He joined the team Tuesday and has spent the week practicing with the club in an attempt to bring the 22-year-old up to speed to face the Predators.

"He had a few good days to settle down here in Calgary," coach Bob Hartley said. "We filled him with all kinds of info in the last two days and my message is very simple. Don't overthink. Don't try to put out there all that we gave you. You're a smart kid. Play your game. It's a game of mistakes and we'll adjust. It's his first game. More importantly, I want him to really enjoy his first game."

The practice time has helped the 6-foot-1, 200-pound left wing prepare for the jump from college to the NHL, an adjustment Agostino hopes to make in just six days.

"It's definitely a change of pace," he said. "It's happened fast but I'm trying to enjoy it and take it all in and not take anything for granted. At the same time I'm not going to be star-struck out there. I'm here to play hockey."

Jarnkrok's path to the NHL has differed slightly.

Selected in the second round (No. 51) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Jarnkrok was acquired by the Predators along with forward Patrick Eaves and a third-round pick in the trade that sent longtime franchise fixture David Legwand to the Detroit Red Wings.

After spending four seasons with Brynas and capturing a Swedish Hockey League title in 2012 alongside Predators teammate Mattias Ekholm, Jarnkrok made the jump to North America in 2013-14, starting with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate. He has 18 goals and 43 points in 62 AHL games, including five goals and seven points in five games with the Predators' AHL team, the Milwaukee Admirals.

Like Agostino, Jarnkrok said he's excited to make his debut.

"It feels great to get an opportunity to play here," said Jarnkrok, who was recalled from Milwaukee on Thursday. "Obviously it's a dream come true to play my first NHL game.

"I'm pretty calm right now, but I mean, before they drop the puck I'm sure I'm going to be pretty nervous."

Ekholm, who is rooming with Jarnkrok on the trip that will conclude Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, feels the 22-year-old is ready for the jump.

"I remember me playing my first NHL game," he said. "It's something you wait for your whole life. We've known each other for a couple years. He's mature. He knows what the deal is with this and he's going to go out there and enjoy this."

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Flames:


Patric Hornqvist - Mike Fisher - Matt Cullen

Gabriel Bourque - Calle Jarnkrok - Craig Smith

Eric Nystrom - Colin Wilson - Viktor Stalberg

Rich Clune - Colton Sissons - Patrick Eaves

Shea Weber - Roman Josi

Ryan Ellis - Mattias Ekholm

Seth Jones - Victor Bartley

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Nick Spaling (upper body), Paul Gaustad (upper body)


Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - Jiri Hudler

Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Paul Byron

Kenny Agostino - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Lance Bouma - TJ Galiardi - Brian McGrattan

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano

Kris Russell - Chris Butler

Ladislav Smid - Tyler Wotherspoon

Joni Ortio

Joey MacDonald

Scratched: Kevin Westgarth, Ben Hanowski

Injured: Karri Ramo (lower body), Dennis Wideman (upper body), David Jones (upper body), Markus Granlund (upper body)

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