Carl Gunnarsson
Carl Gunnarsson
32-Year-Old DefensemanD
St. Louis Blues
2018 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $8.7 million contract extension with the Blues in March 2016.
Blocks two shots
DSt. Louis Blues
March 25, 2019
Gunnarsson went plus-1 and blocked two shots in Monday's win over the Golden Knights.
ANALYSIS
Gunnarsson missed the last 24 games due to a lower-body injury, and he was thrust back into action in an intense game with both teams fighting for playoff positioning. The veteran blueliner did his role in just 12:00 TOI, which may continue to be the normal amount once playoffs start.
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2018–19 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    15:56
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:01
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    1:42
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2016–17
13:36
0:00
0:49
2017–18
16:10
0:02
1:17
2018–19
15:56
0:01
1:42
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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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
Back in action Monday
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
March 25, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) will return the the lineup against Vegas on Monday, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Still out Saturday
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
February 23, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) remains on the shelf for Saturday's game against the Bruins, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Out Thursday
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
February 20, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) will not suit up in Thursday's road game against Dallas, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Transitioned to IR
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
February 16, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) has been placed on injured reserve, per the NHL media site.
ANALYSIS
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Still sidelined
DSt. Louis Blues
Lower Body
February 16, 2019
Gunnarsson (lower body) is still considered day-to-day ahead of Saturday's matchup with Colorado, NHL.com's Rick Sadowski reports.
ANALYSIS
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