Gunnarsson hopes to be ready for opening night

The St. Louis Blues sent Roman Polak to the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, but it remains to be seen if he’ll make his Blues debut in their season opener. After undergoing offseason hip surgery, Gunnarsson started skating last week, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The possibility of Gunnarsson playing in any of the Blues’ first four preseason contests has already been ruled out by head coach Ken Hitchcock. That means the earliest possible exhibition contest Gunnarsson could participate in would be the Blues’ game against Carolina on Sept. 30 ahead of their opening game on Oct. 9.

“We’ll try to gradually build into it to hopefully soon be able to do a full practice,” Gunnarsson said. “I wish I could say, but I don’t know. If it feels good, we’ll try to push it even more. … (Opening day) is what I’m pushing for, but we’ve still got a month. It’s not impossible, but it’s so tough to say.”

Gunnarsson had three goals and 17 points in 80 games in his final season with Toronto.

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