Brendan Lemieux already has the bloodline for hockey greatness, and now he’s got the motivation too.
The son of hockey tough guy Claude Lemieux expected to be a first-round pick in this week’s NHL draft, but by the time the first round ended on Friday night, he didn’t hear his name called.
Brendan Lemieux had a long night to think about 30 teams passing him over, but also got words of encouragement from some of his father’s colleagues, including Wayne Gretzky and Jeremy Roenick.
But even with the encouragement of some NHL legends, Brendan Lemieux said Friday was a tough night.
“I was one of those guys who was trying to figure out for a long time where I was going to go,” he said. “Nobody really knew. I had no idea I would drop out of the first round, but I had no idea I was going to get picked this morning. I walked in the arena like 2 minutes before I was going to get picked.”
By early Saturday he had his team, as the Buffalo Sabres took him with the first pick of the second round.
Lemieux said he was disappointed to fall so far, but thinks it could all work out for the best.
“I expected to be a first round pick and never really looked at the second round,” he said Saturday. “But that being said, things have a way of working out. I think it could be a blessing in disguise that I had to wait it out.”
Ironically, Lemieux said his interview with Buffalo Sabres brass was his worst one.
But now he’s excited to start his NHL career, and emulate his father’s style of play.
“I’m proud of the way he played and how hated he was,” he said. “I just love that about him. I definitely want to follow in his footsteps and I want to be that guy that can step up in the playoffs and really be that playoff performer. To me, that’s what’s most important is the postseason and that’s the kind of player I want to be. I want to come up big when it counts.”
Brendan Lemieux could have good company in the Buffalo Sabres farm system. Frederick Roy, the son of legendary goalie turned coach Patrick Roy, is a fourth-line forward with the Rochester Americans, the Sabres AHL affiliate.
Edit: An earlier version of the story had identified Brandon Lemieux as the son of Mario Lemieux.