Carl Gunnarsson only played in 25 regular season games this year due to injury. He had three goals and four assists, and when healthy was a steady presence on the blue line.
Once he got into the playoffs, Gunnarsson got 19 more games under his belt, with a goal and an assist. The goal, you may remember, came after a restroom conversation with coach Craig Berube. It went a little something like this:
Thanks to that overtime goal, Gunnarsson ensured that the Blues would win their first Stanley Cup Final game, and he also ensured that he would never have to buy another drink in St. Louis again.
Going into the off-season, the Blues had three unrestricted free agents that were able to check the market. Two, Chris Thorburn and Michael Del Zotto, are more than likely retired or gone. Two others, Pat Maroon and Gunnarsson, were the question marks. If they were to return, what kind of deal would the two playoff heroes get? Would the Blues have to throw money at them to retain their services, and would that force Doug Armstrong to lose key pieces of the Blues’ Cup championship team?
Gunnarsson took one hell of a discount to stay with the Blues. His last contract was a three year deal that put his AAV at $2,900,000. The contract that the Blues announced today is a two year deal at $1.75 million a season.
This is an excellent price for someone whose, both offensive (even if it was a called shot made at a urinal) and defensive play were integral to the Blues winning their first Stanley Cup. Gunnarsson will be 34 when the contract expires, which means that the Blues avoided a stupid, albatross of a deal.
To sign the nine RFAs that they extended offer sheets to as well as Pat Maroon, the Blues now have $15,470,406 of cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.