Surely there are lots of Carl’s in the NHL. It’s a popular enough name, isn’t it?
Turns out there aren’t. There have been so few, that we can take a look at and get to know most of the different Carl’s that have tried to earn a living in the NHL:
Blueliner Carl Brewer played 604 games in the NHL, mostly for his home town team the Toronto Maple Leafs. The four-time all-star lifted the Stanley Cup three times with Toronto (1962, 63 & 64) and was even inducted into the Finnish Hall of Fame. Aside from some time in Finland, the WHA and AHL, Brewer also played for the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues.
Brewer was a character, and as well as his achievements on the ice, he was also a fighter. After retiring from professional hockey (for the first time), Brewer fought to have his amateur status reinstated so he could play for Canada’s national team. After retiring for good, he took up the cause of the NHLPA and investigated former agent and union leader Alan Eagleson’s finances and was instrumental in sending Eagleson to the state’s penalty box, aka prison.
The 4th Line Podcast’s Carl Landra was not named after Carl Brewer.
The St Louis Blues’ Carl Gunnarsson is still very much active in the NHL and at the time of writing, has won the team its first Stanley Cup. A classic stay-at-home defenseman, the big Swede is one of those guys who just gets on with his job. A prolific goal-avoider, Gunnarsson doesn’t score often, but when he does, it’s a goal that’ll tie a Stanley Cup final series. The dude likes to save his goals for when they really matter: after a bathroom break.
Gunnarson has 581 NHL games to his name, 304 of those were played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that drafted him back 194th overall back in 2007. The Leafs had a good few years out of Carl, before trading him to St. Louis in 2014 for Roman Polak…
Another Swede, this Carl currently plays for one of our Carl’s bandwagon teams, the Washington Capitals, although he’s also dressed for the LA Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers, so if this pattern continues he’ll be back on the west coast soon enough. Carl ‘Air-miles’ Hagelin has two Stanley Cups to his name thanks to his tenure in Pittsburgh. Just like Gunnarsson, Hagelin was also drafted in 2007, although this Carl was picked 6 places ahead of his fellow Swede.
All in, Hagelin has played well on some strong teams, but in 2018-19 played for three teams. Just one more team and he would have joined Jussi Jokinen in the fabled four-teams-in-a-season club. Injuries have restricted the winger’s potential and despite an impressive CV, now fulfills the role of journeyman player. Hagelin freshly inked a new 4 year, $11 million contract to return to Washington.
AKA #CarlPicksCarl, Soderberg was drafted by the St. Louis Blues back in 2004, but never played a game for them. Not long after being signed to a three year contract; the young center struggled being so far from home and was instead loaned out to the Malmo Redhawks in his native Sweden where he suffered a season-ending injury. The Blues then did the noble thing, and traded Soderberg to the Boston Bruins for Hannu Toivonen. Toivonen would go on to give up 69 goals in 23 games for St. Louis, before never troubling the NHL every again.
Soderberg’s return to the NHL was in a Bruins jersey, unfortunately it was after they were good. Despite three reasonable seasons with the boys from Massachusetts, he was plucked by the Colorado Avalanche where he’s been a consistently OK second liner ever since.
A veteran of 380 games, native Ontarian Liscombe played his entire NHL career for the Detroit Red Wings, although he also played against the Montreal Maroons and New York Americans, so we’re going back some time here. Liscombe joined Detroit in 1937, the same year that the icing rule was introduced, and started well despite the Red Wings bottoming out the American Division. Despite a strong second season, the winger’s performances suffered for a few seasons after.In the 1942-43 season, the Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup Final for a third consecutive year. Thanks in part to Liscombe’s then career high regular and post-season performances, Detroit lifted the cup for just the third time in franchise history. Carl, whose name was actually Harold, spent three more seasons in the NHL before joining the AHL’s Providence Reds where he lifted the Calder Cup in 1949.
By the time injury forced Carl Voss into retirement in 1938, two of the eight teams he’d played for no longer existed. If you know of any player who played for more doomed franchises in their career, please comment below. Despite playing for the same number of teams as years he was active in the NHL, Voss made four trips to the playoffs and in his final season helped the Chicago Black Hawks win their second Stanley Cup.
After a training camp mishap knackered Voss’ knee, he spent time working for CCM and refereeing, ultimately working as Referee-in-Chief for the NHL where he redesigned the recruitment process for officials. His 15 years in the gig saw Voss make the Hall of Fame as a Builder.
Calgary, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh & Boston. Carl Mokosak played for them all, but never won anything. 40 of Mokosak’s 63 NHL games were played in Calgary, where he debuted for the team in the 1979-80 season. The rest of his 829 game professional career was mostly played in the IHL and AHL, often being signed as a free agent.
Swedish Blueliner Dahlstrom was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 51st overall in the 2013 entry draft. Playing for the weak Rockford IceHogs hasn’t handicapped Dahlstrom and he was selected to the AHL All Star Game. The Blackhawks have also been testing the water over the last two seasons, and Dahlstrom has looked strong his 49 NHL games.
Brother of John Klingberg, Carl had the misfortune of being drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2009. His first NHL game was the Thrashers’ last, and the team relocated to Winnipeg shortly after. The winger struggled in the big league and managed just 12 games in his NHL career. In the AHL Klingberg was much better, but ultimately returned to Europe where he’s currently playing in Switzerland.
Drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2016, 21 year old Swede Grundstrom helped the Toronto Marlies lift the Calder Cup in 2018, but never dressed for the big team. Instead Grundstrom was a piece in the Jake Muzzin trade, swapping Toronto for Los Angeles. Initially assigned to the Kings’ AHL affiliate, Grundstrom was called up by LA, playing 15 games at the end of the 2018-19 season. His one goal and five assists likely earning him serious consideration for a starting place next season in California.
A second round pick for Pittsburgh in the 2006 draft, Sneep only ever played one game in the NHL, registering an assist in the Penguins 8-3 kicking of Buffalo on December 17th, 2011. After that he bounced around the ECHL and NHL for a few years before retiring. In fairness, the dude retired with a 100% Point-Per-Game NHL record.
Who’s your favourite Carl? Have I missed anyone off the list that you think deserves some recognition? Comment below or join in the conversation on Twitter.
— The 4th Line Hockey Podcast (@4thLinePodcast) June 17, 2019