From Beauchemin to Stalberg, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Maple Leafs for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. That means only guys that are still property of the Maple Leafs. We're doing this in concert with Maple Leafs Hot Stove. Next up, Carl Gunnarsson.
#36 / Defenseman / Toronto Maple Leafs
Nov 09, 1986
Years in the NHL: 1
Became a Leaf: Selected in 7th round of 2007 draft, 194th overall
Contract Status: 1 year left on 2 year ELC; $800K cap hit
|2009 - Carl Gunnarsson||43||3||12||15||8||10||0||0||0||0||45||6.7|
The Summary: It has become almost comical to hear Brian Burke try to defend JFJ at every turn. I wonder if Burke took the parody twitter account to heart and feels obligated to counteract the impression that he thought that JFJ was 'retarded' when the opportunity arises. He does it whenever Tomas Kaberle's limited no-trade clause is used and he will probably start doing it whenever Carl Gunnarsson is mentioned. I wonder if JFJ might have had a successful career with the Leafs if he had just been in charge of scouting...
Please read the entire article before you cast your vote.
Anytime you get a 7th round pick facing the third toughest competition alongside the worst teammates you've done something right with your player development. Throw in having the third best GVT among defencemen on your club and taking the fewest offensive zone face-offs and you might have a player on your hands. His Corsi relative to his competition is also 3rd among defencemen and considering his zone start is actually quite impressive. But the best part is that despite all of this he is still paid the least among the defencemen.
It's probably nit-picking to want more out of a rookie defenceman but there is one area of concern that has been mentioned a few times. Gunnarsson's +8 was far and away the best on the team. Brian Burke seems to imply that might just be the kind of thing to catch his eye in future negotiations. Kent Wilson took a mid-season look at it after James Mirtle noted Gunnarsson's strong play. His PDO (even strength save percentage + even strength shooting percentage) at that point was 106 which is ridiculously high. It ended the season at 101.6. When Wilson wrote his piece the gap between his plus/minus and his expected plus/minus was 11. By the end of the year that gap would have closed but it will be something to look at next season.
The Maple Leafs' player development cannot quite take the credit for developing Carl Gunnarsson. In a move that would be rightly associated with the Detroit Red Wings, he was left to play in Sweden for Linköping for two years after being drafted. Oh, and on a defence corps that has $18.3M committed to four defencemen after next season he will be one of two restricted free agents alongside Luke Schenn. Yikes.
Weird Leafs seem to always score on Martin Brodeur
What do the Maple Leafs do with Carl Gunnarsson? Do they re-sign him as soon as possible or do they wait to see if he will regress in his second season?
Rate Gunnarsson below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.