The Calgary Flames signed winger Devin Setoguchi earlier this week.
Setoguchi has had a weird career, production-wise. He was the 8th overall pick in 2005 by the San Jose Sharks, after a nearly point-per-game season in the WHL (and a point-per-game performance at the World Under-18s). After a productive junior career, he went pro and went CRAZY in his first full season in San Jose.
He scored 31 goals in 2008-09 (as a 22 year old). But he played primarily with Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, so heck, a lot of players would’ve scored that much with those guys. But it’s not like he was thrown to the wolves.
Outside of that season, he has been much less productive.
In 2009-10 he mostly played with Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe. He wasn’t sheltered and he was fairly productive. In 2010-11 he mostly played with Thornton and Marleau again, and (shocker) his possession numbers were up a bit, but didn’t translate as readily to pucks in the net. (For comparison’s sake, his PDO during his 31-goal season was also 101.7, including a super-high 9.2% on-ice shooting percentage.) He missed 12 games and his on-ice shooting percentage dropped to a still-good 7.95%, which translated in a pretty steep production drop (from 65 to 36).
Once he went to Minnesota, his numbers fell down a bit, because Minnesota and Minnesota’s general system and playing style. He mostly played with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley, and the combo was better together than they were apart, because seemingly nobody on the 2011-12 Wild team could drive possession that much. He played with Matt Cullen and Mikael Granlund (Markus’ big bro) in 2012-13 primarily, then played mostly with Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane in Winnipeg.
Overall, Setoguchi is a fine player. He’s not great. He won’t drag lesser lights to good possession numbers, but he won’t drag anybody down. If you put him with Mikael Backlund, for instance, he’d get carried to a decent number. Possession-wise, he might be slightly worse than T.J. Galiardi. But unlike T.J. Galiardi, Setoguchi has shown a proven ability to finish around the net in the past.
Well, with the right linemates.
SETOGUCHI’S 2013-14 NUMBERS
The Winnipeg Jets were not a great hockey club last season. They finished 22nd overall, missed the playoffs by 7 points and their leading scorer was Blake Wheeler (with 69 points; 15 more than Calgary’s leading scorer Jiri Hudler). They scored a good amount, but just couldn’t keep the puck out of their net (and engaged in a lot of track meets in the process).
Setoguchi was a depth player on the Jets. He was 9th among forwards in average even-strength ice-time, and also 9th in even-strength scoring (with 24 of his 27 points on the year). If you compare his 27 points to the 69 points Wheeler had – and the Jets’ different level of scoring – Setoguchi’s production can somewhat be compared to Joe Colborne, though Setoguchi did play fewer games than Colborne did (though both were in on a similar percentage of their team’s offense).
Setoguchi was middle of the road in terms of ice-time, middle of the road in terms of QualComp and slightly ahead of the middle in terms of zone starts. He was pretty shielded and didn’t generate very much in terms of even-strength offense. He was part of the second power-play group for the Jets and had 4 points in 75 games. Overall, he was in on 12.3% of all Jets goals (14.4% of even-strength, 7.5% of power-play).
Weirdly, Setoguchi’s on-ice shooting percentage was 5.9% last season, lower than literally every single Flames regular last season. His on-ice save percentage was .923, better than just about every Flames regular last year. The shooting percentage may change, but given the improvement the Flames have made via bringing in Jonas Hiller, hopefully his on-ice save percentage doesn’t tumble too much.
Devin Setoguchi is probably going to be a filler player. And by filler player, I mean that he’ll fill in spots around the centers, but likely the centers will determine the deployments and the situations he’s used in.
If he plays with Backlund or Monahan, he’ll get a lot of offensive starts and variable levels of protection in terms of competition. If he plays with Stajan or whoever the fourth line center ends up being (Bouma or Knight, perhaps), be prepared to see him start a lot in the defensive end. Who Setoguchi plays with will, like throughout his career, be the primary determinant of how productive he is offensively. He’s a carry-able player, but I’m thinking that the Flames have wingers on their roster they want to get sheltered more than him (on the right side, Joe Colborne, for one), even presuming Johnny Gaudreau or Sven Baertschi start the year in Adirondack.
I figure he plays the right side and gets bottom-six minutes and deployments. Unless Calgary as a whole lights the lamp a lot more than they did last season – and that’s not incredibly likely – I figure he gets around 25 points (again) and flirts with 10 goals. I cannot see his on-ice shooting percentage staying as low as it was last year, even if he’s on the fourth line.
And heck, he probably will be for a good portion of the season.