On Friday, the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine wrapped up. All the interviews had been conducted, and the prospects had all been weighed, measured and otherwise evaluated. Now the results will be debated by all 30 NHL teams, leading up to the 2014 NHL Entry Draft (which begins on June 27).
Armed with the first overall pick in 2013, the Colorado Avalanche hit a home run, selecting forward Nathan MacKinnon from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. This year, the Avs will pick 23rd.
Last offseason also saw the Avalanche turn their future over to names from their past; making Joe Sakic Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and naming Patrick Roy as their head coach. The results paid off in spades, as the Avalanche had one of the best regular seasons in their history; making the playoffs only to be upset in the first round by the Minnesota Wild.
Now, with eyes looking once again towards their future, will the Avalanche again turn to names from their past? Some experts seem to think so.
In their latest mock drafts for NHL.com, both Mike Morreale and Adam Kimelman have the Avalanche selecting Brendan Lemieux from the Barrie Colts of the OHL.
Brendan’s father, Claude Lemieux, played an integral part in Colorado capturing their first Stanley Cup in 1996. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 (a team on which Roy was the goaltender), and two with the New Jersey Devils (1995 and 2000). Sitting ninth all-time in playoff scoring, Lemieux even captured the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP in 1995.
Truculent and skilled, Brendan Lemieux models his game after his famous father. Leading the Colts in playoff goals, Brendan has also showed flashes of his father’s penchant for coming up big in big moments.
“I want to be a young Claude Lemieux,” said Brendan. “That’s the style I want to play. That’s the model. If that means there’s comparisons, then so be it. I’m happy to be compared to him.”
Like his father, Lemieux also has a reputation of a bit of a troublemaker. In his first month in the OHL, Brendan Lemieux was suspended for eight games after he shoved defenseman Roland McKeown face first into the boards; a play that undoubtedly brought up memories of when Claude was suspended in the 1996 playoffs for doing something similar to Red Wings forward Kris Draper.
The 28th ranked North American prospect, Brendan Lemieux should be available when the Avalanche make their selection. With the Avs needing size and toughness on the wings, Lemieux could most certainly fit the bill.
That may not be the only prospect the Avalanche are interested in that has a connection to their past either. Like Lemieux (who was born there), Dominic Turgeon is from Denver, Colo (moving there when he was nine). Like Lemieux, Turgeon’s father played for the Avalanche.
Still residing in the Denver suburbs, Pierre Turgeon spent the last two seasons of his illustrious career with the Avs before retiring in 2007.
The 97th-ranked North American Prospect, Dominic Turgeon figures to be available in the later rounds of the draft; but, like Lemieux, fills an organizational need. He is a solid two-way center for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks who shares his father’s penchant for playmaking.
“He struggled when he came in at 16 for time and confidence,” said Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston. “But he was our most improved player. As an overall player, he played against top lines, he killed all penalties for us and he’s got a big upside. He will have good numbers.”
Prior to joining Winterhawks (where he won a WHL championship in 2013), Turgeon played for the local Colorado Thunderbirds midget squad.
Come draft day, will both Lemieux and Turgeon follow their fathers, donning an Avalanche sweater? Only time will tell; but it is a definite possibility.
In an interesting side note, Claude Lemieux was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Dominic’s uncle Sylvain Turgeon, in 1990.