Reasonable Expectations: Devin Setoguchi

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.

Season       Corsi %              PDO          
2009-10 50.6% 101.7 53.1%
2010-11 53.0% 99.2 55.5%
2011-12 48.4% 97.7 50.6%
2012-13 48.2% 103.0 48.6%
2013-14 48.9% 98.2 50.2%


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.


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.

  • beloch

    The good thing about this signing is that the Flames get a competent bum for $0.75M. Setoguchi is good enough that he won’t be exploited mercilessly by opponents, as some of the Flames worst players were last season (*cough* Westgarth *cough*). Good teams need players like this.

    Anyways, I wonder how the new arena’s finances are coming along. The owners are going to pocket quite a tidy sum from having the cheapest payroll in the league this season.

  • Parallex

    Reasonable Expectations: Perform good enough to be a viable trade chip at the deadline. I think he’ll have a reasonable bounceback season at least in terms of counting stats if he’s in better shape and get’s some PP time.

  • Byron Bader

    The signing is fine by me. No term, no money. Could put in 40 points. Here’s a scary fact … Seto becomes the Flames best natural RW option for the upcoming season. My word is this squad just garbage on the right side.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      The only RW better than Setoguchi is Hudler. I see him as an upgrade on Jones, Colburne and McGrattan. I’m not saying he’s playing the top 6 all season long, but I’ll bet he ends up with most of his time as a #2 RW.

  • Scary Gary

    He won’t drag lesser lights to good possession numbers, but he won’t drag anybody down.

    So basically he’s Hudler without the weirdly sustainable high-shooting percentage.

    Also, have you noticed that you say “in terms of” a lot?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    In a somewhat related vein, did anyone else hear the interview on the Fan960 yesterday with Rob Kerr where they where discussing Setoguchi’s shooting analytics? Maybe I’m alone here, but I thought the measures were a complete rip off of Kent WIlson’s work here on FN: On the Devin Setoguchi Addition.

    • Peplinski's Thunderbird

      Normally I would agree, but at a time when Alexei Kovalev throwing dirt on P.K. Subban is the most exciting storyline in hockey, I’ll gladly re-hash Gooch’s underlying stats to death. My god training camp can’t come soon enough

  • Burnward

    He’s a decent player, I would never envision he could get back to those SJ numbers. Jumbo Joe set him up for a lot of goals. Two more years in SJ and he put up back to back 20 goal seasons. His numbers dropping in Minny but no surprised given he was playing on a much more defensive-style team and wasn’t playing with Thornton. He just came off his worst season but was playing with Jokinen. If he’s given the right amount of ice time get’s back to his shooting ways he could be back to 30-40 points. He’s got to be more engaged though if he wants to bring his career back or else he will be a forgotten man like Cheechoo.

  • Burnward

    Honestly, the competitiveness and “locker room guys” strategy implemented by flames is a great vision to have for a team. When you FINALLY have some talent to speak of, the phrase “Earned, not given ” is the perfect slogan to abide by. I for one am very excited to see what the future holds for our budding stars. My favoite hopeful for this year in Michael Ferland and I hope he becomes the next Lucic type player. GFG. Drunk…

  • beloch

    I was listening to the afternoon show on the Fan yesterday and they were talking about Bouma and then their discussion turned to the discussion of how many UFA and RFAs are still unsigned so my brain went to is there a deal to be made between teams with UFA’s ie Bouma for a defender that is a RFA; like Gelinas with the NJD. Would it take more?

    Kent mentioned Boychuk from Boston, what would it take to get him?

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Eric Gelinas????? It would take far, far more than Bouma to get him. It would probably take more to pry Gelinas out of New Jersey than it would Larsson.

      Personally, my interest in Johnny Boychuk is pretty small given his age. He’d make the Flames better (now), but it would do less than nothing to solve the problem of “no one to play with Brodie after Giordano.” To me, that’s basically the only need the Flames should be trying to address through trade right now.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      For better defence now and in future (if that’s the goal) I like the trade for unsigned RFA Eric Gelinas idea too but worry the would want Bouma and someone like Wotherspoon too so that’s not good. Others RFA D unsigned include NYR John Moore (large and mobile), NSH Ryan Ellis (small but very skilled), BOS Torrey Krug, COL Tyson Barrie, DAL Brendan Dillon, and even EDM Justin Schultz but again…trade for them at what cost? Much more likely is a trade for Johnny Boychuk since BOS needs room to keep Reilly Smith and Krug. Or maybe with Chicago but 5 of their Dmen have NTCs and Leddy may cost us to much.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    @Peplinski’s Thunderbird

    Props for the comments, but mostly the name.

    As for the nickname, I prefer Gooch or The Gooch. It seems more appropriate than Gucci for someone from Taber, and Seto is lamo.