Bomber forward Lemyre goes first round in USHL draft

Tristan Lemyre has earned a lot of credits in the last season - rookie of the year, scoring sensation, player and rookie of the week, etc. The forward earned another title recently - first round pick.

Lemyre was picked 14th overall in the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) phase two draft by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, becoming one of only four Canadian players picked in the league’s draft. The USHL is recognized as the top junior hockey league in the U.S. and is a prime feeder league for both the NCAA and, eventually, the professional ranks.

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The Saints have a long list of NHL alumni, including current Calgary Flame Johnny Gaudreau, NHL All-Star Zemgus Girgensons and New Jersey Devil Will Butcher. Butcher attended the Univ. of Denver, the same program Lemyre has earned a scholarship to in either 2021 or 2022.

No other SJHL player has been picked higher in the USHL draft than Lemyre was, with the closest comparable being picked last year - ex-Notre Dame Hound Nolan Renwick was picked by the Omaha Lancers 15th overall in last year’s draft.

In his rookie season of junior hockey, Lemyre had about as good a first season as any recent Bomber. The 19-year-old from Mirabel, Que. won the league’s rookie of the year award and was nominated as national rookie of the year, racking up 62 points in just 44 games. While Lemyre missed 14 games with injuries, he was the only SJHL rookie to score more than 50 points, beating the next highest finisher on the year by 12 points. After the holiday break, Lemyre earned at least a point in all but three games.

Lemyre also finished the now-cancelled SJHL playoffs leading all rookies in scoring, racking up two goals and six assists in four games.

Bombers have now been selected in each of the last three USHL drafts. Former Bomber Vincent Nardone was selected in the 12th round last year by the Lincoln Stars, while Chrystopher Collin was picked in the 14th rounds in 2018 by the now-defunct Central Illinois Flying Aces. Neither player headed to play in the U.S., although each were later traded from the Bombers - Nardone to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, Collin to the Edmundston Blizzard of the MJAHL.

Lemyre’s status as a high pick may have a downside for Bomber fans. The player may end up joining up with Dubuque this season instead of returning to the north - last year, out of four Canadian players taken in the draft’s first round, three left immediately for the USHL. However, the Fighting Saints’ own draft wrap-up, published on their team website, said the team was unsure if Lemyre would report.

“Fast skating shooter who likes to score and is good at it. Driven to get better. Still some work to be done to ensure he comes to Dubuque, but he’s too good to pass up on,” read a comment by Fighting Saints general manager Kalle Larsson.

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