My best description of St. Cloud State freshman Mikey Eyssimont came from a game recap this past March:
Eyssimont's second goal was a beauty. Everyone knew Eyssimont could score at the youth level. He led the T1EHL U16 in scoring when he committed to the Huskies. But there were definitely some questions about if he could translate that success to the college level at his size. On his second goal, he outbattles 6'6" 230 lbs. defenseman Brendan Kotyk for position in front of the net, and then makes a tremendous play his knees to put the puck in the net. I'd say those questions are being answered.
Eyssimont was tremendous in his rookie year for the Huskies, and it may just be enough to get him drafted in his final year of Draft eligibility.
Player: Mikey Eyssimont
Team: St. Cloud State University(NCHC)
Position: Left Wing
Height: 6'0" Weight: 192 lbs.
Stats: 40 games, 14 goals, 19 assists 33 points, +14
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: Not ranked
What I Like:
-Great offensive instincts
Many of Eyssimont's goals this year came on easy put-backs right at the door step of the goal. But to dismiss them as easy goals would be to miss all the work Eyssimont does getting into the right spot, getting there at the right time, and gaining position and leverage on bigger defenders. That's no simple thing and shows his ability to think the game
Mikey Eyssimont again - takes perfect pass (wink) off the boards behind the net, buries it from a shallow angle pic.twitter.com/u9wSEAb5ND— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 26, 2016
Tremendous goal from St Cloud, Kossila to Eyssimont - St Cloud back within one pic.twitter.com/ok8yCRZIT5— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 26, 2016
As a player in his last year of eligibility, Eyssimont maybe doesn't have as much upside as some of the younger prospects, but he's already proven an ability to be a scorer at the NCAA level, something many, if not most, of the younger players with "higher potential" will struggle to do. Eyssimont's 33 points put him in the top-10 nationally in freshman scoring, and in a rather impressive cohort:
Eyssimont got off to a slow start this past season, typical for rookies in college hockey, scoring just 4 points in his first 16 games. But from that point, the light went on and Eyssimont was a tremendous scorer, tallying 29 points in his final 24 games. He's definitely on an upward trend.
-Big Game Performer
Eyssimont always seemed to play his best hockey in his team's most important games. He was named tournament MVP at the North Star Cup, he was named MVP of St. Cloud State's conference tournament, and had a pair of goals in his team's NCAA Tournament loss.
What I Don't Like:
-Played on a loaded team
Despite being the seventh-highest scoring freshman in the NCAA, Eyssimont was only the seventh-leading scorer on his own team. The Huskies were deep and experienced last season. Eyssimont benefited from the increased scoring opportunities playing on one of the best power play units in the country. As a result, his numbers might be a tad inflated, and could potentially go down when he has to create more on his own next season.
Eyssimont is good in tight areas, and skates well enough that he doesn't have major issues on St. Cloud State's Olympic-sized sheet, but he's not a pure burner of a skater. He'd be an average at best NHL skater, which makes things even more difficult for a player like him that isn't particularly big.
Eyssimont scored a lot of goals, but as mentioned above, very few came from any sort of distance. For a guy that projects as a scorer, it's not a great sign for him to be so limited in where he can score from.
NHL Central Scouting didn't include Eyssimont in their rankings, though it's typically much tougher for a player to make said list after his first year of eligibility. I think he's at least worth an NHL team taking a very long look at. He's ranked 74th on my personal list of players I've seen, which roughly equates to a late-fourth, early-fifth round pick. Guys that can score like Eyssimont--and the way he scored as a draft-eligible freshman in the NCAA is no small feat--almost always end up earning free agent contracts somewhere down the line. In a weak draft, he's definitely worth a late round pick to lock up those negotiating rights.
Even though he's an older player, a team that drafts Eyssimont will need to have a little patience. Eyssimont still has three years of college eligibility, and it will be worth waiting to see if he can continue, and perhaps improve on his freshman scoring rate. If he does, he could turn into a decent second or third line scoring threat at the NHL level.