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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #17 Brendan Lemieux

We're almost halfway through our Top 25 Under 25. If you've stayed with us this long, you might as well see it all the way to the end, right?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
















#31, 2014











Previous Rank: n/a; 16th on Die by the Blade's 2014 Top 25 Under 25

Going into his draft year, Brendan Lemieux was a borderline first round pick who Buffalo selected at 31st overall, with the Jets trying and failing to trade up for him. But, as fate would have it, they acquired Lemieux in the Evander Kane deal. Another Barrie Colt playing under Jets 1.0 captain Dale Hawerchuk, he put up 60 points over 57 games, with 41 goals and 145 PIMs.

Brendan plays a very hard-nosed, physical game, but making nifty plays and putting the puck in the back of the net are not foreign concepts to him. For those who don't know, Brendan is the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, who was best known for being a huge pest that was able to get under his opponent's skin during a game. Brendan has that mean streak in him which made Claude infamous, but in a more skilled package than his father.


AIH Authors' Thoughts:


Grit and tonnes of it. A few years in the AHL, or one final year at Barrie in the OHL will do him some good. Ultimately, I'd love to see him on a line with JC Lipon and Andrew Copp.


The son of Stanley Cup winner Claude, Brendan plays with that same mean streak as his father, which will be fun for Jets fans in the future. However, Brendan is much more skilled. Many worry about him transitioning, but I can see him being a future fixture on the third or fourth line.


One of the biggest things people liked about Brendan going into his draft year was that he was Claude with more skill. Will spend this year in Barrie and then another year or two with the Moose. Strong third liner is his ideal ceiling.


41 goals in the OHL is nothing to sneeze at, but is Lemieux's upside anything more than a bottom six agitator? His skating is solid (but nothing to write home about), there's no arguing his effectiveness as a net-presence at the junior level, and he plays a "hard" game. But while his hands aren't without skill, does he have the offensive creativity to make full use of them? I'm wary of his ability to consistently make things happen on his own, and he doesn't have the reputation of a defensive stalwart either.

If I had a firmer belief in his potential as an agitating, middle six complimentary winger, I'd have pegged him higher. Until then, I'm keeping expectations low. We'll see what he does on a Barrie Colts team which lost Joseph Blandisi but added Julius Nattinen.


While there is no denying Lemieux's production this past year, I do have concerns about how he got there. A high volume of his goals came on the powerplay - and as part of a GREAT powerplay unit. This isn't a bad thing, but I do wonder how repeatable it is. Add to that the fact that he isn't an overly effective 5 on 5 player, or strong defensively, and there are legit reasons for concern.

All that said, I do suspect Lemieux will play in the NHL some day. He has the size and attitude that coaches value. The big question for me is his upside. Will he round out his two-way game and find more success at 5 on 5? Will he be a pure agitator? I am curious to see what the next year brings.

Scouting Report:

Tyler Parchem, Elite Prospects:

Perfectly fits the cliche as a player you hate to play against but love to have on your team. Like his father Claude, Brendan will drive the opposing team crazy as he is the perfect agitator. Lemieux also has the ability to burn you offensively as he is a top 5 scorer on Barrie.

The Hockey News:

Assets: Like his father Claude, he plays an aggravating style with the hands to score goals as well. He is hard to knock off the puck, too, due to a strong lower base. Skates well.

Flaws: Isn't nearly as talented on offense as his dad, and his agitating style doesn't always work to his (or his team's) advantage. Needs to tone down his act a little.

Potential: Agitating, scoring winger with upside.

Todd Cordell, The Hockey Guys:

Lemieux is a very good skater who’s continually improving in that aspect. He reaches his top speed relatively quick, and has improved quite a bit with his stops and starts. He uses his solid skating stride and lower body strength to lose defenders and change directions effectively. Lemieux likes to carry the puck wide with speed, then drive the net after gaining a step over opposing defenders. He’s physical, in your face and always finishes his checks. He plays on the edge, and never shy’s away from physicality. Often times he’ll give players a little whack when the refs aren’t looking, which regularly leads to him drawing calls later on in games.

Lemieux is excellent around the net, as he uses a good net front presence to screen goaltenders, and is more than capable of deflecting pucks in tight. He’s very effective in that role on the power play, too. Lemieux isn’t a guy who pots all his goals from five feet out, though. He has a very nice shot and a quick release to boot, so he’s dangerous from a distance as well. Lemieux is excellent in the cycle game, and is very tough to knock off the puck. He’s strong on his skates, and is good coming from behind the net or off the wall with possession.



Brendan Lemieux has solid overall offensive abilities and can still play that crash and bang hockey which wears opponents down. He'll spend his last year in junior playing for the Barrie Colts, before transitioning over to the pros. Every team needs a solid supporting cast of players (CC: Blackhawks), and I think if Brendan can hit his ceiling as a third line winger who can score, he will fit that role perfectly. Anything above that would be gravy.

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