On March 2nd of this year, the Tampa Bay Lightning made a relatively small, but unexpected trade before the trade deadline after spending big to acquire Tanner Jeannot from the Nashville Predators. The trade saw the Bolts move forward Vladislav Namestnikov, with 50% of his $2.5M cap hit retained, to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Mikey Eyssimont.
Today, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have re-signed Eyssimont to a two year contract with an Average Annual Value of $800K.
Although unexpected at the time, the trade makes sense in hindsight. It cleared a net $500K in cap space for the Lightning, bringing them to just over $1M in cap space. This allowed for flexibility to bring in another player prior to the trade deadline or call up a player from Syracuse in case of injury, which wasn’t possible before the trade.
While the value Namestnikov brought to the team is not much better than what Eyssimont brought, the $500K in cap space, plus essentially an extra roster spot, was more valuable to the Lightning than the difference between the two players.
Eyssimont, 26, had played 40 career NHL games, recording 4 goals and 13 points prior to arriving in Tampa Bay. One criticism of him was his issue with finishing, which was supported by analytics as he recorded 9.1 goals below expected in the regular season, according to Money Puck. However, he brought good energy to the bottom six and earned the trust of the coaching staff.
Eyssimont scored his first goal with just ten seconds left in the regular season after playing in 15 games with Tampa Bay, ending his goalless drought. During the playoffs, he played in three games and contributed a goal and an assist.
Fun Fact: Brayden Point, who was nominated for the Lady Byng Award this year, had only seven penalty minutes all regular season, but five of those were after a fight with Eyssimont when the Sharks came to town in early February.
Eyssimont was relatively unknown to many Tampa Bay Lightning fans before the trade, but his performance during his short time with the team has won over many fans who will now get to see him suit up with the Lightning for two more seasons. His $800K salary provides great value for the cap-strapped Bolts who are looking to round out their roster with as much value as they can find.
Julien BriseBois had an easy decision on hand to re-sign Mikey Eyssimont as a Group 6 unrestricted free agent who did not command a high salary. While he may not be the most skilled offensive player, Eyssimont’s versatility as a center and wing, along with his gritty play, made him a valuable addition to the Lightning’s bottom six.