Player evaluation: Zeiler
This season: 4 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 penalty minutes, 5:35 average ice time.
The good: Known mostly for his hitting and skating, Zeiler drew praise in Manchester this season for his improved all-around game and finished with 28 points in 69 games for the Monarchs. Zeiler has also made the transition to playing center on a nearly full-time basis. He understands his role, that of a bottom-six energy player who should attempt to agitate, draw penalties and play a physical game, and he doesn’t attempt to do too much.
The bad: After an effective 23-game run in 2006-07, the Kings thought enough of Zeiler to give him a four-year contract, believing his combination of energy and physical play would translate to the NHL. Over those next four season, Zeiler would play in a total of only 67 games with the Kings. During that time, players such as Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Wayne Simmonds, Brad Richardson and Rich Clune emerged and Zeiler’s road to the NHL got longer and longer.
Going forward: The Kings thought enough of Zeiler that they made an ill-fated attempt to call him up during the playoffs, after Jarret Stoll’s one-game suspension, but Zeiler is an unrestricted free agent this summer and the idea of him re-signing with the Kings is something a longshot. Zeiler turns 29 in November, and with a crop of forward prospects seemingly on the verge of joining the Kings’ system, Zeiler’s time with the organization is probably done.