Lightning Round: Michael Eyssimont will be a Group 6 UFA this summer, and NHL Key Dates

“Stop commenting on people’s weight, it’s friggen weird,”

Former Tampa Bay Lightning defender Slater Koekkoek has shared his story of why he’s been away from the NHL. He was in a negative feedback loop where he couldn’t eat, the anxiety, pressure, and scrutiny to eat increased, his weight dwindled, and repeat. I hope he is doing better now and is in a healthy place. “Stop commenting on people’s weight, it’s friggen weird,” is a very useful takeaway.

Michael Eyssimont, acquired for Vlad Namestnikov, will be a UFA this summer after not meeting the Group 6 requirements to retain his RFA rights. He and Sean Day would need about 75 games each by the end of this season to stay RFAs. The Lightning will lose exclusive signing rights to Eyssimont on July 1st.

The NHL released the official dates for the playoffs and draft this spring. As Chris mentions, the Lightning will have three days off from their last game of the regular season to their potential first game of the playoffs (against Toronto). The Draft Lottery (The Bedard Sweepstakes) will take place on a Monday night in May. The Draft Combine will go for a week during the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL Draft will be in Nashville on a Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. And Free Agency will begin on July 1st.

The QMJHL is increasing their penalty on fighting, upgrading it from a five minute major and a 10 minute misconduct up to a five minute major and a match penalty. The QMJHL has seen fights per game drop dramatically as they’ve implemented automatic suspensions and harsher penalties, while not seeing any difference in scoring and goaltending numbers. I looked into it and it’s true, the lack of fighting hasn’t seemed to impact the game. If anything, scoring is up.

“Their number has also been in free fall for several years. During the 2010-2011 season, there were 0.78 fights per game. By comparison, 79 fights have come in 536 games played since the start of the campaign, averaging 0.14 per game.”

The Lightning and Leafs have among the tougher scheduled left to play in the NHL — mostly because they both have to play each other, Boston, and Carolina down the stretch. In Dom’s tweet above about standings projections, the Lightning and Leafs have stayed relatively close together all season.

And because they’ve been locked into a playoff series against each other since basically November, we can deduce the odds of who’s going to come out of the first round based on the model. Looking back at older posts, that number seems to be hovering around 60/40 in favor of Toronto. Still a toss up.