Brendan Lemieux's rise to the NHL began when he was 3 months old, when he sat inside the Stanley Cup after his father raised it. It was June 1996, and Claude Lemieux had helped the Avalanche capture the Cup in the franchise's first season in Denver.

Eighteen years later, Brendan Lemieux — a nephew of sorts to Avs brass Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, Claude's teammates in Denver from 1995-99 — is a candidate to become the Avs' first-round selection in the 2014 draft. Sakic and Roy won't pick Lemieux at No. 23 because of their strong ties to his family, or because Brendan was born in Denver, but they undoubtedly could use a player of his ilk.

Brendan is built like his father, emotionally and physically, and Claude Lemieux did just about everything in his 20-year NHL career that ended in 2009 at age 43. The four-time Stanley Cup winner would shoot from anywhere, throw his body at anyone and chirp with the best of them. He had 379 career NHL goals and 1,777 penalty minutes to prove it.

The Avs, who formerly interviewed Brendan Lemieux at the NHL combine in May, could use more nastiness in their young and talented forward corps.

"I can't really pick, and I have to go with the flow and see what happens on draft day. But if the Avs were to select me, it would really be a dream come true," Lemieux said.

Lemieux, 18, is projected in the NHL as a power forward who will score goals in a variety of ways and, naturally, will stir the pot. His game is part Gabe Landeskog and mostly Jamie McGinn. He's not as skilled as Landeskog but is just as tough and fearless as the Avalanche captain, and he's physical and mean like McGinn.