He may have not been the biggest name, play the most important role or score many goals, but Carl Gunnarsson will always be a Stanley Cup champion. The veteran defenseman announced his retirement today, penning a letter to hockey titled “Goodbye to the game I love.” He was scheduled for unrestricted free agency this summer at the end of his latest two-year, $3.5MM contract.
Gunnarsson, 34, will likely be remembered best for his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. The defenseman, who had never before scored a playoff goal, apparently predicted the overtime winner while standing next to his coach at the urinal during intermission. Gunnarsson said he needed just “one more chance” and he got it on a delayed penalty just four minutes into the period. A blast from the point beat Tuukka Rask to even the series at one, a moment that will keep the defensive defenseman in St. Louis lore.
There were only 30 other goals in his career, which included more than 300 regular season games for both the Blues and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The seventh-round, 194th-overall pick made quite a name for himself over the years, but will now hang up his skates and transition to the next part of his life.