Another hometown boy looks to be coming into the fray as the Flames have added Taber native Devin Setoguchi to their lineup, signing him to a one-year contract. He'll be wearing #22 for the team, Stempniak's old number.
CGY signs Devin Setoguchi. One year. $750K AAV.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) August 23, 2014
The 27-year-old played 75 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season, scoring 11 goals and 27 points while averaging about 15 minutes in ice time. Before that he spent time with the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks. His best season to date was his sophomore season in the league, where with San Jose, he put up 31 goals and 65 points, numbers he has not reached since. Setoguchi hasn't cracked the 40 point mark since leaving California.
The good news? Setoguchi is a right winger, an area which we noted the Flames have basically nobody. Since missing out on Kevin Hayes, the Flames' position at right wing looked awfully bleak - and still would have even if he had come to Calgary - but Setoguchi shores up that position a bit. He's not as good as Lee Stempniak, but he's likely better than David Jones.
Even better news is that Setoguchi is likely to improve. He'll probably play a top nine role somewhere on the right side of the lineup, so he'll get ice time, as well as a decent centre to play with (if the Flames decide to keep Joe Colborne on Sean Monahan's right wing, then Setoguchi could end up with Mikael Backlund or Matt Stajan, both of whom are capable centres).
Furthermore, basic numbers imply his scoring may go up. Last season was one of Setoguchi's worst offensively, and it isn't a coincidence that he had the lowest shooting percentage of his career at 8.5%, the only time he's dropped below the 10% mark to date. Furthermore, he had a PDO of 982, so his luck last year wasn't great. With a new situation, and likely playing with a centre that drives possession numbers (or at the very least, isn't a total disaster), Setoguchi is a prime candidate to have a rebound year.
The only downside to this deal is the fact that another roster spot is gone. If you're a Flames prospect trying to crack the lineup, there's one fewer spot available to you. On wing the Flames now have Mason Raymond, Jiri Hudler, Curtis Glencross, David Jones, Paul Byron, Brandon Bollig, and Brian McGrattan as veterans: seven players for eight spots. Injuries will happen, so the chance for prospects will be there, and someone may turn into a frequent healthy scratch candidate (similar to the now-Jet TJ Galiardi [Setoguchi replacement?] last season). Guys like Bollig and McGrattan will probably get less ice time, and someone like Byron, who only started to establish himself last season, may not be viewed as highly in the organization. Still, even though Setoguchi isn't going to drastically change the team's fortunes, he just made the lineup much harder to crack.
Ultimately, however, it's a good signing. The Flames added a capable veteran who plays a position they sorely need. Setoguchi is still young, he's cheap, and the potential for him to have a good season is there. He could find a new home with the Flames or, if the Flames decide to sell at the deadline and he has a rebound year, he could be an attractive trade commodity. He also ensures that whatever prospects make the Flames this season really earned their spots.