2021-22 Team: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: March 23, 2004
Place of Birth: Lévis, QC, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 18th (amongst NA goalies)
Charles-Edward Gravel was an exceptional goaltender in Quebec’s Peewee and Bantam programs. Under the Bantam AAA Pointe-Lévy Corsaires, he put up an impressive 9-6-1 record with one shutout, leading a team that failed to register offense. He conceded the goal to Jordan Lambert during the provincial tournament, but played five more regular-season games than the one-year-older Lambert, and registered better numbers statistically. In 2020, Gravel was selected 26th overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, one of four goaltenders to be drafted in the second round. Like his cousin Alexis, who was drafted 162nd overall in 2018 by the Chicago Blackhawks, Charles-Edward is hopeful to hear his name called upon in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
At the beginning of the season, he demonstrated a calm air about the way he came out of his crease to challenge a shooter. His inspiration drew from Montreal Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price, and it showed in his poise. Squaring to the shooter, Gravel leans into shots, opting to drop down into a butterfly style to take away the lower part of the net. He has a spring to his step when backing into his goal after making a save, often sliding in on one pad while keeping the other flush to the ice surface. When taking to the goal post, he prefers keeping a pad down at all times, sliding side to side to cover the lower part, while using his athleticism to jump into a stand-up style when a pass is made into the slot. For low-area shot attempts, he has a good approach to deflect pucks with his stick into corners for his defenseman to retrieve.
There’s a lot to like about Gravel’s competitive nature, but as the season draws on in the QMJHL, his flaws begin to show. As one of the smaller goaltenders of his draft class at 6-feet, he is prone to leaving the top part of the net open for shooters to pick at. His blocker is quick at deflecting shots away but his glove hand remains an area of concern. He also tends to be overly aggressive when challenging shots, which leads him to slide out of his crease and leave the net open. His rebound control could use some work as well, as often he has taken long-range shots and left pucks pop into high-danger areas.
Positionally, Gravel shows signs of improvement when comparing the beginning of his season to where he is at in March. While his side-to-side movement continues to be a work in progress, he’s covering angles with precision and lowering the number of shots beating him in the top areas of the net. It’s difficult to point the finger at a good portion of the shots that get by him, as the Armada’s defense is particularly weak at clearing the front of the net, especially on the penalty kill. If Gravel can see a shot, he’ll give his team a save, but with a smaller stature he has a difficult time seeing around bodies. Adding to the fact that he’s giving up the top of the net when he drops down, teams can take advantage of him with an accurate point shot.
The 2021-22 season hasn’t been kind on the Armada, or for the entire league for that matter, as it suspended activity in mid-December and did not return to play until February. With the intention of playing the full 68-game season, the condensed workload proves to be particularly tasking on goaltenders. Gravel has played the majority of Armada’s games this season and statically shows better numbers across the board compared to the other goaltenders on the team, thus making any projection solely based on wins and losses imperfect. There’s a lot to like about his game, specifically his maturity and collective attitude, but the things he requires attention on may scare most scouts away.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Charles-Edward Gravel – NHL Draft Projection
NHL Central Scouting has Gravel listed as the 18th North American ranked goaltender, and the third-highest ranked goaltender out of the QMJHL, behind Ivan Zhigalov (Sherbrooke) and Vincent Filion (Moncton). At 6-feet tall, his size will play a factor in how scouts view his overall game. Being a goaltender who drops low to take away the bottom of the net, paired with a weak glove hand, puts him at risk of being passed over in this year’s draft. A sixth-round or seventh-round selection is generous at best, but don’t expect his name to be called this year.
“Gravel is a technically refined netminder who can read and anticipate the play exceptionally well as it develops and unfolds in front of him. Incredibly composed and poised in goal, Gravel turns away deadly shots with ease and is always sure to control or direct the rebound away from his opposition. What’s more is that Gravel is a stellar puck-handler, often acting as a third defenceman who can move the puck to his forwards when the situation demands.”- Prospect Pipeline
“Gravel is a very athletic goaltender who tracks pucks well and challenges shooters. His lateral movements are fast, his hands are quick and active and he can make desperation saves when he has to.”- Shaun Richardson, FC Hockey
- Strong positionally
- Very competitive in his crease
- Covers bottom of the net very well
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Rebound control
- Has trouble seeing through screens
- Side-to-side movement
At his current stage, Gravel could be a decent American Hockey League back-up with the potential to challenge for a starting role. He would shine in the ECHL, if a back-up spot isn’t available to him. With a strong season next year in the QMJHL, he could place himself into consideration for a late-round pick as an over-ager.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 4/5, Reward 2/5
- Le Soleil (French article)
Charles-Edward Gravel Statistics
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Covering the Nashville Predators. I work for a company called SPORTLOGiQ and have loved the game of Hockey for over three decades. I’m obsessed with advanced analytics and pair that with my love for the eye test – i.e. watching the games (I DO that too!)