The LA Kings have acquired forward Brendan Lemieux from the New York Rangers, in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round draft pick.
Lemieux has seven points (2-5-7) from 31 games played this season with the Rangers and leads the NHL with 59 penalty minutes. The 25-year-old forward has totaled 43 points (21-22-43) and 299 penalty minutes from 162 games played in his NHL career with Winnipeg and New York.
Coming off of a career year at the NHL level, in which he set NHL career highs in games played, assists and points, Lemieux signed a two-year contract extension this offseason with the Rangers, which keeps him under contract, now with the Kings, through the end of next season, at a cap hit of $1,550,000. At the expiration of the contract, Lemieux will be a restricted free agent, with arbitration rights.
The Denver, CO native has spent the bulk of his time with the Rangers in the bottom six, playing mostly as a fourth-line winger. Lemieux was junior teammates with both Gabriel Vilardi and Andreas Athanasiou, and is the son of former NHL forward, and four-time Stanley Cup champion, Claude Lemieux.
Lemieux doesn’t have particularly effective puck possession figures, but he brings a sandpaper element to the lineup that perhaps the Kings were lacking up-front. Lemieux plays with an edge and has shown a willingness to go to the dirty areas on the ice, some of those old-school hockey terms that still have their place in the game, in the right context.
Kings General Manager Rob Blake told Lisa Dillman of The Athletic that Lemieux brings a “physical element on the forecheck” and an “in-your-face style of play.”
Since the 2018-19 season, Lemieux ranks fifth in the NHL in penalties drawn (80), which paints the profile of a hard-working agitator. Despite also ranking second in the league in penalty minutes during that span, Lemieux is still +10 in terms of penalties drawn versus taken. In terms of penalties drawn per 60 minutes, Lemieux leads all skaters with at least 100 games played at 2.92.
Blake also believed, per Dillman, that Lemieux is likely to have to quarantine for 7 days upon arrival to Los Angeles, but that was not confirmed per the article.
From the official Kings release –
LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2021) – The LA Kings have acquired forward Brendan Lemieux from the New York Rangers in exchange for the Kings fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, according to Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake.
Lemieux, 25, has posted seven points (2-5=7) and 59 penalty minutes in 31 games this season for the Rangers. Since making his NHL debut during the 2017-18 season, the 6-1, 213-pound forward has appeared in 162 games with the Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets, posting 43 points (21-22=43) and 299 penalty minutes.
Selected 31st overall in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, the Denver, Colo. native has also played in 117 AHL games since making his professional debut during the 2015-16 season. He registered 65 points (33-32=65) and 306 penalty minutes during that time.
More to come on the first trade of the season for LAK!