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 you’ll see that he also recorded 114 hits more than his previous two campaigns combined 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 won’t always leave an impression on the fans after a game, but that isn’t entirely a bad thing — taking care of defensive business is often low-key. He’s not an attention grabber, but that’s partially because he’s playing a deliberate game and isn’t prone to noticeable mistakes. He’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 he’s also not being as creative as it could be and we’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.