Carl Gunnarsson
Carl Gunnarsson
32-Year-Old DefensemanD
St. Louis Blues
Day-To-Day
Injury Lower Body
Est. Return 10/24/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Gunnarsson underwent ACL surgery last offseason and was cleared before the 2018-19 campaign, but he ended up enduring three more injuries and missing 42 games as a result. Still, Gunnarsson made a major impact on the Blues in the postseason, including scoring the game-winning goal in Game 4 of overtime during the Stanley Cup final. The 32-year-old signed on for another two years with the Blues at $1.75 million annually, and his chemistry with Alex Pietrangelo will continue to earn him a consistent spot in the lineup. Still, the 32-year-old carries major injury risk and doesn't possess much fantasy value other than the occasional. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Blues in June of 2019.
Skates during Wednesday's practice
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
October 23, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) skated with the team during Wednesday's practice, Jim Thomas of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
ANALYSIS
Gunnarsson appears to have a good shot at being cleared before Thursday's game against the Kings, although there's no guarantee he plays even if he's healthy. Both Gunnarsson and Robert Bortuzzo have been healthy scratches based on the matchup, and Gunnarsson worked in the role of an extra in this practice session. More information should be available following Thursday's morning skate.
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2019–20 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    16:05
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:00
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    2:05
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2017–18
16:10
0:02
1:17
2018–19
0:00
0:00
0:00
2018–19
15:56
0:01
1:42
2019–20
16:05
0:00
2:05
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
A torn ACL suffered in March may keep Gunnarsson from being active for the season opener. The Swede maintained his identity last season, posting a career-high five goals and four assists, while blocking 102 shots with 16:02 TOI. Gunnarsson's offensive abilities will remain with a low ceiling, as he started 58.2 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone but managed a plus-15 rating, so the real-life value is certainly clear. However, fantasy owners shouldn't have the 31-year-old defenseman, who hasn't produced double-digit points in the last three years, on their draft boards.
Gunnarsson gets the job done defensively, but he doesn't add much more. The 30-year-old blueliner is in danger of losing his job to young talents and the free-agent addition of Nate Prosser, but he wasn't much of a fantasy threat anyways with just six assists in 56 games last season.
The Maple Leafs’ lack of responsible defenders tasked Gunnarsson with playing far too many minutes against top-flight competition last season, a role he wasn’t equipped to fulfill. Those defensive issues were further exacerbated by the team’s poor puck retention, which helped Gunnarsson pile up hits and blocks on his own end of the ice, but limited his offensive impact. Acquired by the Blues in a draft day trade, Gunnarsson will likely be ticketed for duty on the team’s bottom pairing, with the lower quality of competition he’ll face likely more befitting of his true talent level. Even though Gunnarsson will no longer be overmatched as frequently, the expected drop-off in ice time will result in diminished fantasy production across the board.
How good is Gunnarsson? Well, when the Kings couldn't pry Jake Gardiner out of the Leafs in the Jonathan Bernier deal, they set their sights on Gunnar. The Leafs refused to budge on him and for good reason -- he's a low-maintenance, top-four defender who generally plays mistake-free minutes, shuts down the opposition's best skaters, blocks shots and lays hits. He's not really an offensive type, but he was on a career pace last season (17 points in 37 games). He might some day deliver 30 points, but not this year. Still, 25 points, 125 hits and 180 blocked shots make him valuable in specialty formats.
Gunnarsson is Mr. Steady on the Leafs' blue line. He's a safe, mistake-free defender who is a fluid skater with good mobility in all directions. He has a solid outlet pass and has shown an ability to join the rush, as well. But, on the Leafs, Gunnarsson won't see power-play time, limiting his fantasy value. He'll have a good plus-minus, though, to go along with 20-25 points. Does that fit your format?
Gunnarsson is a guy you don't really notice for long stretches ... but that's a good thing. He plays a solid, somewhat conservative game so he doesn't get caught out of position defensively. He skates well, has a good outlet pass and the good judgement to know when he should and should not join the rush. He'd be a solid 3/4 defender on another team, but the Leafs are deep on the back end. He should scoot ahead of the lead-footed Mike Komisarek to secure a spot on the bottom pairing and will likely see time on the second power-play unit. He may be a 40-point defender some day but that day won't come this season. Expect a decent increase on last season but anything above 30 points will be pure gravy.
Gunnarsson is the epitome of a sleeper. By the end of last March, he had quietly risen in ice time and responsibility and in fact, was seeing more ice than offensive teammate Tomas Kaberle. Gunnar can hold his own in all situations and plays an intelligent game, and he has the respect of coach Ron Wilson. Expect a significant output, perhaps in the 30-35 point range, for this emerging defender. Keeper leaguers should get on board early.
Gunnar is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound blueliner who performed admirably for his country (Sweden) at the recent World Championships. His future is a long way off and it may be nothing more than as a depth defender; don't bother with him right now.
More Fantasy News
Unlikely to play Monday
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
October 21, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) isn't expected to play in Monday's game against the Avalanche, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Labeled day-to-day, out Saturday
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
October 18, 2019
Gunnarsson is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury and is slated to miss Saturday's game against the Canadiens, Jim Thomas of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
ANALYSIS
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Sends out helper
DSt. Louis Blues
October 6, 2019
Gunnarsson recorded an assist in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Stars.
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Re-signs for two years
DSt. Louis Blues
June 27, 2019
Gunnarsson penned a two-year, $3.5 million contract with St. Louis on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
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Evens series with OT winner
DSt. Louis Blues
May 29, 2019
Gunnarsson's game-winning goal in Wednesday's 3-2 overtime win against Boston was the first postseason goal of his career.
ANALYSIS
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