Gunnarsson made the first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career one to remember. He scored in overtime of Game 2 in the 2019 Cup Final to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins. Gunnarsson skated in all seven games during the Cup Final, helping the Blues win their first championship.
The overtime goal was the first in 57 Stanley Cup Playoff games for Gunnarsson, who won't wow you with his offensive skills but he is a steady defenseman with a long reach who can play heavy minutes and is a reliable penalty-killer.
He was passed over three times in the NHL Draft before the Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the seventh round (No. 194) in 2007, following the second of his four seasons with Linkopings in the Swedish Elite League. He moved to the Maple Leafs organization for the 2009-10 season.
Gunnarsson played 12 games for the Maple Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate in Toronto before being called up to the NHL. He made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs on Nov. 14, 2009, against the Calgary Flames, and got his first NHL point with an assist Nov. 17, 2009, against the Ottawa Senators. He had three assists and a plus-3 rating Nov. 25, 2009, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Jan. 29, 2010, Gunnarsson beat Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils for his first NHL goal. He missed 22 games due to an elbow injury and finished with three goals, 15 points and a plus-8 rating as a rookie.
Gunnarsson had a four-game assist streak from March 29-April 5, 2011. The following season he led the Maple Leafs with 152 blocked shots and was second in average time on ice (21:42). He scored goals in back-to-back games, March 6, 2012, against the Boston Bruins and March 7, 2012, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Among Toronto defensemen in 2012-13, Gunnarsson was second with 14 even-strength assists and second with 71 blocked shots. He made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut against the Bruins on May 1, 2013.
Gunnarsson led Toronto with a plus-13 rating and 171 blocked shots in 2013-14, his final season with the Maple Leafs. On June 28, 2014, Toronto traded him to the St. Louis Blues with a 2014 fourth-round draft pick for Roman Polak. In 2014-15, his first season with the Blues, he led St. Louis defensemen with a plus-10 rating.
NOTES & TRANSACTIONS
- Signed as a free agent by Orebro (Sweden-2), November 12, 2012.
- Traded to St. Louis by Toronto with Calgary's 4th round pick (previously acquired, St. Louis selected Ville Husso) in 2014 NHL Draft for Roman Polak, June 28, 2014.