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Tampa Bay Lightning Energetic Winger Has Another Level

Michael Eyssimont had his most impactful season to date in 2023-24, which is supported by his stats. Originally selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft, the Colorado native was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Since his arrival in Tampa Bay, the winger has 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 96 contests. Playing alongside Nick Paul and Anthony Cirelli, Eyssimont established himself as an effective middle-six forward on a weak Lightning depth chart.

The right winger reupped with the Lightning last summer for two seasons at an annual average of $800,000 per season. Eyssimont is under contract for one more season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July 2025. Furthermore, the 27-year-old averaged just under 12 minutes of ice time a night with Tampa Bay last season, which was a career-high. The energetic forward can reach another level next season with a few adjustments to his game. “That’s kind of what he brings every single night,” Head Coach Jon Cooper said, via Fox Sports. “He never stops on plays … and he was rewarded.”

Michael Eyssimont Has Room for Growth Next Season

While Eyssimont was a late bloomer, his impact on the Lightning was notable last season. The winger appeared in 81 games for Tampa Bay, reaching a career-best in goals, assists, and points. For a player who didn’t crack the National Hockey League until age 26, double-digit goals and 25 points seem like a marvelous season for Eyssimont. Before the season, the winger was considered a fourth-liner. Yet, Eyssimont earned a spot on the second line at critical points during the regular season. He quickly became a favourite of Jon Cooper’s with an elevated role and minutes. What if this energetic diamond in the rough still had another level to his game with a few minor changes?

Michael Eyssimont’s Strengths By the Stats

Eyssimont is not a typical middle-six forward in terms of play style. He is a unique player with distinct attributes to his game. Eyssimont is a high-volume shot taker, which is rare for a player outside the top six forwards. The winger ranked third on the Lightning in shots on goal per hour (9.31 iSF/60), only behind Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Moreover, the traditional third-line forward rarely enters the offensive zone with possession. Instead, they usually “dump and chase” on the forecheck. However, Eyssimont’s game is the complete opposite of players in a similar role. The 27-year-old is a zone entry machine. Eyssimont ranked in the 97th percentile of controlled zone entries per hour amongst forwards last season via All Three Zones. In addition, Eyssimont places first on the team with ten shots off the rush over our Tampa Bay Lightning microstats workbook here at Last Word.

How Eyssimont Can Elevate His Game

While Eyssimont takes a high volume of shots, his passing game needs work. Despite recording 14 assists last season, Eyssimont ranked in the 41st percentile of high-danger passes per hour amongst forwards via All Three Zones. The winger’s shot selection is poor at times. Instead of finding an open teammate, Eyssimont will rifle a shot from an awkward angle. With more skilled linemates, Eyssimont may trust his passing options in favour of a low-danger shot attempt. With this minor change to Michael Eyssimont’s game, he can see his stats increase, such as his assist total from last season. 

Outlook for 2024-25 Season

The Colorado native has the tools to grow into a second-line talent for the Lightning as soon as next season. If Eyssimont can transition into a “dual threat,” a capable shooter and passer, he can develop into a scrappy second-line forward. Michael Bunting is a player comparison to Eyssimont’s full potential. Bunting is a scrappy top-six forward who does not play flashy. However, he is a fantastic complementary piece to star forwards around the league. Eyssimont could fill this role alongside stars like Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Brandon Hagel.

Main photo credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Advanced percentiles via AllThreeZones (paid subscription required)


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