Dev Camp Preview with Mikey Eyssimont, Kings 2016 Draft Pick

NCAA West Regional - St. Cloud State vs Ferris StateIt’s been a whirlwind week for Mikey Eyssimont. The Colorado native was just drafted by the Kings last Saturday and now he finds himself in Los Angeles for the team’s annual Development Camp. With only one year of college experience under his belt – and expected to play a big role this upcoming season at St. Cloud State – he is just beginning his hoped-for journey to the NHL.

Coming off a season in which he scored 33 points (14 goals and 19 assists) in 40 games, Eyssimont is eager to use this summer to further develop his skills and become a more complete player. Just a few hours after the Kings selected him at the Draft, we caught up with the 19-year-old forward to get a few thoughts. Here’s what he shared on a myriad of topics…

On the feeling of being drafted:

“It’s obviously an unbelievable feeling for every kid drafted. It feels good. It’s my third draft year but it still feels the same and going into camp, it’s nice to know I have a place now to help me develop. LA has a great development team, from what I’ve heard, and I’m excited for development camps to start and see what they want me to do.”

On knowing LA might be interested in him:

“I knew they had some interest in my first draft year; they talked to me then. And in my second draft year, I had also talked to them and it just didn’t work out there during the draft. But, this year, I only talked to them once and it was a brief conversation. So, it wasn’t something I really expected. But it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Obviously, I wanted to get drafted my first year and LA would have been a great spot. And my second year, LA would have been a great spot. But, third time’s the charm and I couldn’t be happier to be here. I don’t know if it could have worked out any better. It probably makes it feel a little better waiting those two years anyway.”

On the Kings drafting several other players from St. Cloud in recent years and if that means anything extra to him:

“It definitely means something. I talked to Nic Dowd a little bit [right after I was drafted] and he’s excited for me to be part of the organization now. And, obviously, Johny Brodzinski had a short, but a helluva career at St. Cloud, and Kevin Gravel made a name for himself at St. Cloud. I’ve never even actually met any of those guys, but I know of them and look up to them for what they did at St. Cloud. Even though I don’t really have a connection with Dowd, I’ve heard he was a big leadership guy at St. Cloud. And he reached out to me about an hour after I got drafted and was just congratulating me and stuff. So, it’s definitely exciting and the relationship between St. Cloud and the Kings is something that I think will only benefit me.”

On having a slow start and then a big second-half during his first season with the Huskies – including being named MVP of the conference tournament:

“It was a big change from Sioux Falls in the USHL to St. Cloud and D1 college hockey, but the transition wasn’t as tough as it seemed. Only four points at the beginning of the year, so a slow start point production-wise. But I was still just learning a lot and earning opportunities – and losing opportunities – and stuff like that. Once the second half started, I made the most of the playing time I was given, and things started to go up from there point production-wise. Then this happened [being drafted], so I think that’s one of the factors. It definitely helped. At the same time, I had two linemates that helped me out a lot. One signed with Anaheim and the other signed with Edmonton. They helped me out a lot, but I think it just shows that I come to play in big, important games and don’t back down from a big stage. Still, being on a stacked team like I was on last year, it definitely made it a little bit easier on me.”

On what part(s) of his game he’ll be working on this summer:

“Well, I need to work on my defensive zone game and that will come during the season, and hopefully I get some penalty kill time this season, we’ll see. But, during the offseason, something I’m working on is my first step and my power. My top speed is not too bad, but I need to improve my first quick step and also my shot — I need to get it a little bit harder and more accurate.”

On campus life at St. Cloud State:

“I was just back up there [a few weeks ago] to meet all of the incoming freshmen. I also went up to a lake cabin belonging to the family of my roommate, and we went to a couple of concerts. So, I’m really close with the team, but some of the best guys I’ve met aren’t even on the team. You know, a guy that was my next-door roommate at college, he drove me to the airport when I was going back home to Colorado. He’s kind of one of the boys with us. And our hockey team, we’re kind of friends with everyone – soccer players and everything. I’m living with Will Borgen and Robby Jackson next year and we’re all really close. We’re living in an apartment — lots of movies for us. We all love to watch movies.”

On the concerts he went to and the movies they watch:

“We went to see Dierks Bentley the first night and then Jake Owen on Saturday. When it comes to movies, all three of us love Harry Potter. I forced them to watch Lord of the Rings. We always go to this movie store, where you can get three movies for six dollars. We’ll watch anything, whether they’re supposed to be good, or terrible, or whatever. And we like one dollar movie Tuesdays, every Tuesday. [MM: But no candy, right?] No, that’s Will Borgen’s job. He’s always munching on candy. I do the popcorn.”

On some of the players he admired growing up:

“All-time favorite player is Peter Forsberg from the Colorado Avs. I grew up watching him. For current NHL players — that would be T.J. Oshie and Ryan Callahan. Even though I don’t replicate their game, I just like the way that they work, the way that they play, and how they’re always on winning teams.”

[NOTE: Longtime readers will recall this next question is one of the many fun questions we like to ask new prospects. In previous years, the answers have been all over the board. Not so much this time around.]

How many of the six Kings players to have their numbers retired can you name?

“Is Gretzky one of them? [MM: Yes] Yeah, I figured. (lots of laughter) Robitaille? [MM: Yes] Not Armstrong; how about Rob Blake? Or was that with the Avs? [MM: Only with the Kings.] Honestly, that’s about it, I think. [MM: Not too bad. You missed out on Rogie Vachon, Dave Taylor, and Marcel Dionne.] Do I get two-and-a-half points then? (more laughter)”

MORE INFO ON LA KINGS 2016 DRAFT PICKS:

UPDATED: LA Kings 2016 Development Camp Roster Info

Scouting Report: RD5, Kings Select Forward Mikey Eyssimont

Scouting Report: RD2, Kings Select Dman Kale Clague

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