Player: Brendan Lemieux
Drafted By: Buffalo Sabres (31st overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 4 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'0", 206 lbs
DOB: March 15, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: OHL, Barrie Colts
Brendan Lemieux is climbing up the draft ladder based on a strong season in which he scored 27 goals and 53 points with the Barrie Colts. Lemieux, the son of former Conn Smythe Trophy winner/agitator Claude Lemieux, has a hard right-hand shot that he likes to unfurl from the left side. He is also a tough kid who is not afraid to mix it up. Lemieux had 145 penalty minutes with Barrie last season. If his team is behind and needs a spark, Lemieux is a willing combatant who is ready to use his fists to do just that.
Full Scouting Report
Lemieux is an edgy competitor who wants to make things as tough on his opponents as possible. He will go into the corners, dish out elbows if he has to and walk a fine line as far as the rules are concerned.
Lemieux will do the nasty things that it takes for his team to win. He also has good, but not great, skills at this point. He needs to work on several areas, including skating and stick-handling, to be a productive offensive player at the NHL level.
The feisty winger does have the kind of shot that can cause problems for opposing goalies. He can use opponents to provide screens, and he is quite proficient at picking the corner.
NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr thinks that Lemieux is a very similar player to his father. "Brendan is a guy you can put in front of the net because he can agitate and be a pest," Marr said. "I think that's in his DNA. He has the same skating stride as his father. He's also got a great one-timer and can finish."
NHL Player Comparison
In addition to his father, Lemieux seems to have similar characteristics to Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke. That's not necessarily a good thing because Cooke has crossed the line several times in his career.
However, Cooke is fearless on the ice, and he skates hard every shift. That allows him to take advantage of any mistake by an opponent. If Lemieux can do that without crossing the line into dirty and illegal play, he will be a valuable contributor.
Lemieux will need time to work on his skills before he makes it to the NHL. It appears he needs at least two seasons before he will be able to contribute regularly. While he is aggressive, he also needs to get stronger before he can attempt to handle the grown men in the NHL.
Don't look for Lemieux to win a place on an All-Star team in the foreseeable future. He is a hardworking and tough kid who most likely will fill a third-line role at some point in his career. It's possible he could be a second-line guy, but it's just as likely that he will be a fourth-liner. Lemieux will be a role player throughout the majority of his career.
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