Alumni Profile: Mike Zigomanis
Mike Zigomanis heard 24 names called before his during the 1997 OHL Priority Selection, but by the time his OHL career ended there were a lot of teams wishing they had of taken Zigomanis with a much higher pick. The Kingston Frontenacs were the team that was lucky enough to call his name at 25th overall in the 2nd round of that draft. That decision put one of the best players in franchise history in a black and gold jersey for the following four seasons.
The points started to come quickly for Mike as soon as he joined the Frontenacs. In his first season of OHL hockey he scored 23 goals and 51 assists for 74 points in just 62 games. In his second year he showed that those numbers were no fluke when he increased his totals across the board, this time putting up 29 goals and 56 assists for 85 points.
His third year was his most successful season in the OHL as far as personal stats are concerned. He finished 8th in the OHL with 40 goals, 7th in the OHL with 54 assists giving him 94 points, which was the 5th highest total in the league for the 1999-00 season.
The 2000-01 season would be Mike Zigomanis’ last season in the OHL. He matched his career high with 40 goals and still managed to total 77 points, despite playing in just 52 games. His 4-year total of 330 points places him 4th on the Kingston franchise all time scoring list. He is also one of the better playoff performers in the team’s 45-year history scoring 19 points in 21 playoff games.
Zigomanis also represented Canada at the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championships scoring 2 goals and 4 assists while helping Canada claim a bronze medal.
His outstanding junior career was enough to get him drafted, twice in fact. The Buffalo Sabres selected him 64th overall in the 2nd round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. The two sides did not come to terms until minutes before the signing deadline in 2001 and when the paper work was filed a typographical error was found and the NHL ruled Zigomanis would have to re-enter the draft. This time he was selected 46th overall in the 2nd round by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Mike would spend the majority of his first professional contract with the Hurricanes in the AHL playing for the Lowell Lock Monsters. He did play 57 games for Carolina in the NHL scoring 3 goals and 4 assists.
The team Zigomanis saw the most playing time with at the NHL level was the Phoenix Coyotes. He played 108 games scoring 26 points over two years with the Coyotes. In October of 2008, the Coyotes traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for future considerations.
The Penguins used Zigomanis in a defensive role having him kill penalties and take important defensive zone face-offs. Although he only scored 2 goals that season, he was an important part of the Stanley Cup run the Penguins had. On June 12, 2009 the Penguins defeated the Red Wings in game 7 to win the Stanley Cup, the only time Mike Zigomanis would win hockey’s holy grail in his career.
When he left Pittsburgh, Zigomanis signed with his hometown team in Toronto. He would only play 8 games for the Maple Leafs, much to the dismay of Don Cherry who campaigned to have Zigomanis called up on the December 17th, 2011 edition of Coach’s Corner but spent three seasons in the AHL with the Marlies. His final contract would be an AHL only deal with the Rochester Americans where he finished his pro hockey career.
In total, Mike Zigomanis played 197 NHL games with Carolina, Phoenix, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Toronto. He scored 21 goals and 19 assists for his 40 career NHL points. His pro career spanned 13 years between the AHL and NHL while suiting up for 10 different teams.