Brendan Lemieux is going to be an integral piece in the Rangers quest to contend
When the Rangers acquired Brendan Lemieux in the Kevin Hayes trade at last season’s deadline, it flew under the radar. Everyone focused on the Rangers adding another first round pick in a deep and talented draft. However, the moment Lemieux stepped on the ice wearing Rangers Blue, eyes started to open.
Still, there has been radio silence from both sides on a new contract for the 23 year old RFA. I reached to 4SportsWorld to see if I could find out if they’ve at least started to discuss a new contract after Lemieux received his qualifying offer, but no response as of today.
Making an Impression
Statistically speaking, Lemieux notched just 3 goals and 6 points in 19 games. Surely nothing eye opening there, until you dig deeper and see the 44 penalty minutes (very few of them of the cheap variety), 2 fighting majors, and 48 hits. This was done averaging around 12 minutes under David Quinn while being moved up and down the lineup.
Going into next season the Rangers lack a player with this much sandpaper up front in their lineup. On defense, Jacob Trouba is as tough as they come and can scrap with some of the best fighters, but do you want his $8M hands punching some 4th line agitator’s helmet? I think not. Brendan Lemieux is that and so much more.
Chip off the Block
Lemieux is a banger and a high energy guy. His father Claude Lemieux was considered one of the game’s clutch players. In 1215 regular season games he scored 379 goals and 786 points. Claude’s clutch reputation was well earned in the playoffs, where he scored 80 goals and 158 points in 234 games and finished with 4 Stanley Cups. However his reputation to agitate is legendary.
That under your skin style earned him the nickname Pepe Lemieux which was a play on the Looney Tunes skunk character, Pepe Le Pew. Oddly enough, the only things they had in common was the French accent and the fact that people really don’t like skunks.
Blueshirts fans clearly remember the countless battles Lemieux and Adam Graves had during those bitter rivalry days. One particular incident led to an all out brawl during the 1992 playoffs. Now take it from me, as someone who witnessed Claude up close, his son has shades of his father and that is something this Rangers team will need to compete in the years to come.