The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed left-shot depth defenseman Kevin Gravel to a one-year, one-way $700,000 contract.
The 27-year-old Gravel has split his time between the NHL and AHL over the last three seasons spent with the Kings and Oilers organizations, tallying 13 points in 106 NHL games over his career while averaging 14:20 per game in his last three seasons. Gravel has played a secondary penalty-killing role in his career, averaging 51 seconds a night in shorthanded time on ice since 2016-17.
Gravel has averaged a 51.8 Corsi For Percentage, a 51.8 Goals For Percentage, and a 50.8 Scoring Chance Percentage his 100 NHL games since 2016-17 with defensive impacts that stand up well in a sheltered bottom-pairing capacity:
While Gravel is limited and more of a safe, defense-first player, he has some puck-moving skills and an ability to handle the puck well enough while bringing some size and length on the blue line. He will most likely be a Marlie this year while serving as big-club depth; with Vincent LoVerde’s status for next year an unknown (currently a UFA), Gravel will bring Calder Cup-championship experience to the Marlies‘ blue line from his time in Manchester.
Gravel will bring a size element to the Leafs’ depth chart; suddenly the Leafs have 6’6 Ben Harpur and the 6’4 Gravel in the mix on the left defense position vying for the final spot in behind Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin (Travis Dermott might miss the start of the year, and may well shift to the right full time). That means Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, Teemu Kivihalme, Harpur, Gravel, Martin Marincin (re-signed this weekend) and Rasmus Sandin will all be in that mix in camp — all are within $200,000 or less of the league minimum.