Prospect Watch: Austin Lemieux grows at ASU


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Austin Lemieux isn't a Penguins prospect, but he might as well be after attending the past three development camps, right?

Lemieux, 22, is in the midst of his redshirt freshman year at Arizona State after sitting out last season for academic reasons due to leaving high school to play junior hockey. He's currently tied for seventh in team scoring with four goals and nine assists through 26 games. His first collegiate goal was this backhander against Alabama-Huntsville:

He scored this goal on the rush on Dec. 15:

Lemieux, who wears No. 16, has been skating on the right side of Sun Devils' second line along with the undrafted P.J. Marrocco and Pittsburgh-born Demetrios Koumontzis, the Sun Devils' only skater to be drafted by an NHL club. Koumontzis was a fourth-round selection by the Flames in 2018.

Brinson Pasichnuk, a captain of the Sun Devils, told The State Press that while Lemieux began playing more of an offense-first game, he's been working on growing his defensive play this season and is becoming a more well-rounded player.

Sun Devils coach Greg Powers sees potential in Lemieux.

“I think in today’s game, you see all of these kids that can go a million miles-per-hour and they get nothing done," Powers told The State Press. "Well, Austin, he can skate, and he can think, so we think before it is all set and done he is going to be a special player for us.”

Powers has lauded Lemieux's playmaking abilities and hockey IQ, as well as his professionalism.

Lemieux definitely has height, at 6-feet-3, but he's on the slender side. He began his collegiate career at about 170 pounds, and is now closer to 185 pounds, thanks to all the time spent in the weight room during his redshirt year.

Alex Hicks, a forward for the Penguins from 1996-98, is now an assistant coach at Arizona State. He told Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic that Austin and Mario have similar skating styles, notably in the way that they hunch over at the waist when they skate.

Metcalfe writes that Mario often makes the trip out to Tempe, Ariz. to watch his son play, and that when he's not at the games, he watches them online and gives Austin pointers when he can.

"He remembers every shift that I was on just like that, and he'll start telling me what I did wrong and right and what I can do better," said Austin.

The "Lemieux" name comes with some pretty big shoes to fill, but Austin isn't trying to be his father.

"You kind of want to be your own person, but it certainly has its good qualities," Austin said. "You want to do well when you have the name on your jersey, but he doesn't put any pressure on me to live up to what he's done. It would be pretty difficult to do that. He sees I love the game and I'm working hard, and he's just trying to help me out any way possible."



Justin Almeida
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 5-11/160
Drafted: 2018, fifth round
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Season totals: 
40 games, 15 goals, 46 assists

Almeida scored two goals and four assists in four games this week, including an overtime winner on Tuesday:

Almeida is averaging 3.8 shots per game, a slight increase over last season's average of 3.1.

Jordy Bellerive
Position: Center
Size: 5-10/195
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
45 games, 23 goals, 32 assists

Bellerive played in two games this week and scored this incredible goal:

Kasper Bjorkqvist
Position: Wing
Size: 6-1/198
Drafted: 2016, second round
Team: Providence College (NCAA)
Season totals: 
24 games, 10 goals, 11 assists

Bjorkqvist was scoreless in one game this week.

This came from a USHL scout:

Jan Drozg
Position: Wing
Size: 6-0/174
Drafted: 2017, fifth round
Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
38 games, 12 goals, 24 assists

Drozg was scoreless in three games this week.

Liam Gorman
Position: Center
Size: 6-2/188
Drafted: 2018, sixth round
Team: St. Sebastian’s School (USHS-Prep)
Season totals: 

Gorman’s high school team does not post box scores or stats. He has at least four goals this season, judging from his school’s Twitter feed.

Filip Hallander
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 6-1/190
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Timrå IK (SHL)
Season totals: 
26 games, 6 goals, 8 assists

Hallander appeared in one game this week and scored this redirect goal. I can't tell if he was trying to avoid the puck and just happened to redirect it into the net with his shin, or if he was trying to angle it in, but it's impressive either way:

He had this breakaway chance, but was denied:

Hallander did this video interview in Swedish. I believe he speaks about the team needing to play more physical and calls his own season "a little up and down."

Nikita Pavlychev
Position: Center
Size: 6-8/225
Drafted: 2015, seventh round
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Season totals: 
24 games, 11 goals, 10 assists

Pavlychev was scoreless in two games this week.


Calen Addison
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
44 games, 7 goals, 37 assists

Addison registered one assist in two games this week, bringing his production to a point per game.

Niclas Almari
Size: 6-1/167
Drafted: 2016, fifth round
Team: HPK (Liiga), HPK U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Season totals: 
25 games, 1 goal, 3 assists with HPK; 2 games, 1 assist with HPK U20

Almari played two scoreless games with HPK.

Ryan Jones
Drafted: 2016, fourth round
Team: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Season totals: 
22 games, 5 assists

Jones played in two scoreless games this week.

Only two players on Nebraska-Omaha have a plus/minus in the positives, the team as a whole is being outscored 61-82 this season. Jones has the lowest plus/minus on the team at minus-18. That's a testament to how heavily he is utilized by Nebraska-Omaha, not necessarily his skill.

Zachary Lauzon
Drafted: 2017, second round
Team: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Season totals: 

Lauzon, who has been rehabbing from the neck injury he sustained last season, will not play this season. He was not able to resume skating with the team.

The Huskies announced that Lauzon will remain around the team for the remainder of the season and will travel with his teammates.

If the Penguins wish to retain Lauzon’s rights, they would have to sign him this summer. That won’t happen. Lauzon’s time as a Penguins prospect is most likely over, if not his entire career.

Antti Palojarvi
Drafted: 2017, sixth round
Team: Lukko (Liiga), Lukko U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Season totals: 
16 games, 2 assists with Lukko; 29 games, 4 goals, 9 assists with Lukko U20

Palojarvi played in two scoreless games with the main Lukko team, and one scoreless game with the U20 Lukko team.

Clayton Phillips
Size: 5-11/182
Drafted: 2017, third round
Team: Minnesota (NCAA)
Season totals: 
22 games, 1 goal, 7 assists

Phillips was scoreless in two games this week. He's a minus-1 on the season, which is about the middle of the pack for Minnesota.

William Reilly
Drafted: 2017, seventh round
Team: Rensselaer Polytech (NCAA)
Season totals: 
19 games, 4 goal, 9 assists

Reilly played in one game this week and scored this goal:

RPI had another game scheduled this week that postponed due to the weather.


Alex D’Orio
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
31 games (10-20), 3.98 goals against average, .888 save percentage

D'Orio appeared in one game this week, a 5-1 win over Shawinigan. He stopped 14 of 15 shots.

He's 5-0 since being traded to Baie-Comeau with a 1.40 goals against average and .936 save percentage. He was averaging 37.4 shots against when he was playing for Saint John, and is now facing 22 shots against on average for Baie-Comeau.

Here's his new headshot, courtesy of his dad:


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