Defenseman inks two-year, $3.5 million contract to
stay with Stanley Cup champs, pass on free agency
ST. LOUIS -- Carl Gunnarsson is staying put.
The unrestricted free agent to-be defenseman will remain with the Stanley Cup champion Blues after agreeing to a two-year, $3.5 million contract ($1.75 million average annual value) on Thursday afternoon.
Gunnarsson, who was set to become a UFA and free to sign elsewhere beginning Monday, was drawing interest elsewhere during the free agency window opening period in which teams can talk to free agents ahead of the official signing day.
But Gunnarsson, 32, who is coming off a three-year, $8.7 million contract ($2.9 AAV) was comfortable in St. Louis and being a part of the championship roster and camaraderie built within the locker room helped him stay in St. Louis.
Gunnarsson has dealt with injuries throughout his 10-year NHL career, including this past season in which he played in just 25 games because of a torn ACL in his left knee and wrist injurues.
But Gunnarsson, who had three points (one goal, two assists) in 19 Stanley Cup playoff games, scored one of the biggest goals in playoff franchise history when he clinched the first Stanley Cup Final playoff win with an overtime goal in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins.
In 581 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blues, Gunnarsson has 129 points (28 goals, 101 assists). He was acquired from the Maple Leafs on June 28, 2014 for defenseman Roman Polak and a fourth-round pick in 2014, which the Blues used to select goalie Ville Husso.
Gunnarsson's signing leaves the Blues with one unsigned defenseman among their top seven. Joel Edmundson is a restricted free agent but received a qualifying offer on Monday.