The 2023 NHL Draft is set to take place on June 28 and 29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings include five players that played in the BCHL last year and another two who are BCHL alumni in college hockey.
Leading up to the draft, we will share interviews with the prospects about the draft process and a variety of other subjects.
The BCHL’s 2023 NHL Draft coverage is presented by Chevrolet.
After spending one year in the BCHL with the West Kelowna Warriors in 2021-22, Charles-Alexis Legault played as a freshman at Quinnipiac University last season. The 2003-born defender found himself as a regular in the lineup, playing in 40 games and contributing nine points on a team that went on to win a national championship at season’s end.
The 19-year-old has been draft eligible since 2021 and was listed by Central Scouting back in his first year of eligibility, so the pressure of draft attention is nothing new to him. We caught up with him to talk about his championship season at Quinnipiac, what he learned in his year with the Warriors and how he is handling draft buzz this time around.
BCHL: You came into a Quinnipiac team with a lot of experienced players on the roster and carved out an everyday role. How much did it mean to you to contribute right away?
Legault: It was huge. We had a lot of older and experienced guys. Being able to practice with them that first month and learning the culture and the structure from those guys helped me with my play and performance. The opportunity I was given at the start of the year, I made sure I did the best that I could with it.
BCHL: Your team won the national championship in dramatic fashion, coming back from 2-0 down to win in overtime. What was that experience like?
Legault: It was a great experience. What more could you ask for than a national championship? The winning culture that we had at Quinnipiac last year is something that will follow me the rest of my life and my next three years in college. It was surreal. Being able to play at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, in front of a huge crowd like that, it was incredible. Coming out on the winning side, I still have no words to describe the feeling at that moment.
BCHL: One of your coaches in West Kelowna was Josh Gorges who is a former NHL defenceman. What did you learn from him in your time with the Warriors?
Legault: What Josh brought to my game was all the little nuances that he used when he played at the highest level, whether it was puck protection, those little bumps, or just understanding the whole defensive side of the game. That’s what he took pride in when he played in the NHL. We talked all the time. He was just incredible to me in my time in West Kelowna.
BCHL: You were ranked by Central Scouting back in 2021, so you have been through the pressure of a draft year before. How is it different this time around?
Legault: Your first year of eligibility, you think about it a lot, but this year, I didn’t really think about it at all. I was just trying to play the best hockey I’m capable of. I didn’t put as much pressure on myself and I think I performed better.
BCHL: How would you describe yourself as a player?
Legault: I think I’m a tall, puck-moving defenceman that has great skating abilities and is able to move pucks north quickly. I take pride in my one-on-one battles. I try to win the most I can and I think I’m pretty good at it. Defensively, I have a long stick and I’m able to defend with my feet. Offensively, I like to jump into the play when the time is right.
BCHL: What would it mean to you and your family if you were drafted?
Legault: It would be great recognition, but at the end of the day, I need to look at the bigger picture and the ultimate goal is to have a long career in the NHL. I think it’s just a step toward that ultimate goal, but it would be good recognition. For my family and I, it would be a great moment. They’ve helped me so much along the way.