I originally wanted to organize these players by lines and start at the bottom, but I realized that it had gotten so muddled on the 3rd and 4th lines that my order would just seem random. So I'm going to tackle this feat going alphabetically and in reverse order. Why not, who's really reading these anyway? Anyhoo, here goes nothing.
John Zeiler... right off the bat, I could say with confidence that he was definitely a fringe player on the team this year. He was supposed to be here to provide a spark on the lower lines, but, really, he was lots of suck. He played 36 games getting zero goals, one assist, was at a -6, and had 23 PIM. I will admit, he was able to throw up some hits, which would get the fans riled up. But when I really looked at how the hits were going down, I realized that he wasn't doing well in that department either. I can remember plently of instances where he would be running after an opposing player who was trying to get possession of a loose puck. Once said player would get near the boards, Zeiler would make him eat glass.
Loud noise. Crowd cheers.
But I honestly believe that he threw those kinds of hits because he couldn't skate fast enough to beat the other guy to the puck. He had these short,choppy strides that annoyed the hell out of me; talk about inefficient! Anyway, so he'd get out-skated to the puck, and the only way for him to even have a chance at gaining possession was for him to lay the dude down. That, to me, isn't skill. If you want an example of how hitting SHOULD be done by the boards, look at Dustin Brown. Zeiler isn't even in the same league as Brownie. Literally. The coaching staff sent him back to Manchester because he couldn't handle the pressure out on the ice. What was my reaction? Laughter... and relief
I really don't have too much else to say about him. After realizing what he was "contributing" to the team, I hated whenever he was out on the ice. He did nothing for me. Who knows where he'll end up next season. Saying that his showing this past season was less than impressive is an understatement. It makes me laugh (and Marie cry) to see that he's signed until the 2010-11 season. If he can't do something to improve his overall game, he'll be stuck in the minors for a long time. He's only making half a million for the remaining years on his contract, but I'm still annoyed that he has to get paid that amount. But, you never know, he could shock the hell out of Kings fans and have a breakout year, a la Patrick O'Sullivan.