Carl Gunnarsson Scouting Report by Gus Katsaros and Ryan Dadoun
The tall, lanky Swede scored four goals and registered 15 assists in 76 games in 2011-12, making it the third straight season that he recorded 15-20 points. Dig a little deeper and youâ€™ll see that he also recorded 114 hits â€“ more than his previous two campaigns combined â€“ and blocked a career-high 152 shots. An ankle problem and separated shoulder resulted in missing six contests on the season. Gunnarsson is a good and agile skater. He has advanced puck skills, but his preference is to feed it off to outlets, advancing the play whenever the opportunity presents itself. The 25-year-old wonâ€™t always leave an impression on the fans after a game, but that isnâ€™t entirely a bad thing â€“ taking care of defensive business is often low-key. Heâ€™s not an attention grabber, but thatâ€™s partially because heâ€™s playing a deliberate game and isnâ€™t prone to noticeable mistakes. Heâ€™s also willing to take on a less glamorous role so that his primary defensive partner, Dion Phaneuf, can be more aggressive and deliver the big hits. The downside is that heâ€™s also not being as creative as it could be and weâ€™ve only been treated to glimpses of his true potential. Gunnarsson could also stand to bulk up more to make him a harder player to beat along the boards. He averaged 21:42 minutes per game in 2011-12 and he figures to get a similar amount of playing time this season. A reliable two-way defender, he could paint himself into a cornerstone of the Buds defence for years to come.
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