#46: Claude Lemieux
While Claude Lemieux may be a superpest, there’s no doubt that his style of play had a huge influence on many teams and their Stanley Cup runs, including the Montreal Canadiens.
Lemieux was drafted by the Canadiens in 1983 after a successful junior career, and actually made the team that year. However, after eight games into the season, he was sent back to juniors.
He played one game for the Canadiens the next season, and only 10 in the 85-86 season, but he stayed around for the playoffs that year, which was a smart move. Although he had only played 19 regular season games to that point, Lemieux was instrumental in the playoffs. He scored 10 goals (including four game-winners) and added six assists in 20 playoff games, helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup that year.
The next year, he made the team full-time, scoring 27 goals and 53 points in 76 games in hus true rookie season. He followed that up with seasons of 31 and 29 goals, but it was in the playoffs he excelled. Known as an agitator, Lemieux wasn’t scared to play with an edge.
He was traded to the New Jersey Devils during the 90-91 season, but kept his winning ways. He would win three more Stanley Cups (one with the New Jersey Devils and two with the Colorado Avalanche), and is one of only five to win Stanley Cups with three different teams. In his New Jersey Cup win, Lemieux won the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Lemieux is second in league history with 19 career playoff game-winning goals, trailing only Wayne Gretzky.
He has also played for Canada at the World Junior Champions, Canada Cup, Rendez-Vous 87′ and the World Championships.
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