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Report: Sabres traded Lemieux to Jets because he refused to sign

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

Evander Kane apparently wasn't the only disgruntled player looking for a new home in Wednesday's blockbuster trade between the Winnipeg Jets and the Buffalo Sabres.

Brendan Lemieux was far from the centerpiece of the deal, but he was included because his father and agent Claude Lemieux told the Sabres his son wouldn't sign with them, according to TSN radio reporter A.J. Jakubec.

Brendan was surprised when Buffalo selected him 31st overall in 2014. He told he thought his combine interview with the Sabres went poorly.

"They weren't easy on me," he said in June. "I guess they liked the way I reacted."

Claude reacted to the selection with optimism, saying he was happy his son was going somewhere he hadn't played during his 1,215-game career. The four-time Stanley Cup champion even believed Brendan would make the team this season, perhaps hinting at what he thought of the quality of the roster.

"It wouldn't surprise me. He's the kind of kid you know he'll catch on the pace," Claude said at the draft. "He's young, but they've got a lot of open spots."

Brendan failed to crack Buffalo's roster out of training camp and returned to the OHL, where he's performed well with 35 goals (and a team-leading 120 penalty minutes) for the Barrie Colts. It appears his relationship with the Sabres soured somewhere along the way, perhaps due to the team's dismal performance this season.

The Jets organization has close ties with the Colts, so it's not surprising they approved of his inclusion in Wednesday's trade. Claude and Brendan would do well to sign with Winnipeg and avoid any hassles, however - the Kane saga showed how the Jets handle dissatisfied players, and it isn't a good time for anyone.

Report: Sabres traded Lemieux to Jets because he refused to sign
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