It’s time for the “Gunner” to show the world what he’s made
of. After three straight years of being passed on in NHL drafts,
Carl Gunnarsson (23), of Sweden, was drafted by the Leafs in 2007. He appeared
in his first game for the Buds on November 14 last season and wasted little
time proving to everyone that he belonged in the NHL.
He recorded his first NHL assist three days later. He was
only called upon to play in 43 Leaf games in ’09-10 and he spent most of his on
ice time adjusting to the North American style of play. In a game the following week against Tampa, Gunnarsson
showed Leafs faithful a glimpse of what he’s really capable of. He added three
assists to his juvenile six game NHL career, bringing his point total to four
and his plus minus to +3, while averaging over 20 minutes of play per game.
He missed 22 straight games because of an elbow injury, but
made everyone happy by scoring his first career NHL goal in his return against
New Jersey backstop, Marty Brodeur.
His 15 points last season proved that he’s for real. He’s
shown that he can handle the puck with ease and has the ability to make great
passes. Toronto’s talented blueline will help Gunnarsson keep improving his
game and skill level.
He spent the offseason honing his skills in Sweden. He also
joined fellow Leafs player Jonas Gustavsson lead Sweden to a Bronze medal
finish at this year’s IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships in Germany.
The 6′ 2″ 200 pound Swede is considered an all-around
defenseman with good puck-moving skills. He has the ability to take care of his
own end, while still possessing a strong offensive threat at the other end.