As first reported back on August 12th, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be bringing in right winger Devin Setoguchi to take part in training camp and preseason on a Professional Tryout Agreement.
#Leafs have signed Devin Setoguchi to a PTO. Will attend training camp.
— Matt Brown (@brown__matt) August 24, 2015
Setoguchi, an eighth overall draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in 2005, is 28 years old for another four months. In his first full 80-game season in 2008-09, he scored 31 goals on Joe Thornton’s wing. He broke the 20-goal plateau in three consecutive seasons in San Jose before signing with the Minnesota Wild, where he posted a 19-goal, 36-point season in 2011-12 (a 20-goal pace) and 13 goals in 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season (also a 20-goal pace).
To what extent his struggles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 (he put up a combined 27 points in 87 games and spent 19 games of 2014-15 in the minors with the Adirondack Flames) are attributable to off-ice trouble is not something we can comment on, but that he took the steps to tackle his issues through rehab is obviously a positive going forward. Setoguchi has been scratched a few times in the past few seasons for disciplinary reasons; twice for missing morning meetings ahead of games against San Jose, his former team (here and here… you can draw the obvious conclusion).
Signed to a one-year deal in the 2014 offseason, Setoguchi played around 12 minutes a night last season in his 12 games in Calgary, with about a minute and a half on average on the powerplay, and pretty quickly found himself on waivers in November. While he was scratched 11 times in the first two months of the season, Bob Hartley tried to get Setoguchi going in a number of different spots on a variety of lines, and gave him some looks on the first-unit powerplay for about two-to-three weeks. All told, he managed just 12 shots on goal, zero points, and finished a minus-seven.
His luck didn’t improve from there, as a hernia put him out of action for the better part of two months and he appeared in just 19 AHL games for Adirondack.
To what extent Devin Setoguchi’s NHL career has been coasting on the fumes of his production alongside Joe Thornton in San Jose is the obvious question. One of this era’s greatest playmakers was Setoguchi’s most common linemate over his time in San Jose, as Setoguchi skated 1,750 of his 3,300 minutes alongside Thornton while with the Sharks. Below is a With Or Without You comparison that includes Setoguchi’s entire career:
It’s not surprising by any means, but his goals for rate, his possession rates and his shooting percentage all took a significant hit away from Thornton. He’s been a marginal possession player and hasn’t hit 20 goals since leaving San Jose, although he was on pace to in both 2011-12 and 2012-13 had he played full seasons. Talk to Jets or Flames fans and the skinny on Setoguchi will go something along the lines of: not a good defensive player, doesn’t have a particularly high work rate, and he wasn’t producing enough to make up for it. He does have some speed and a good shot, and managed respectable goal totals in Minnesota.
That was two teams ago, however, and for that reason a professional tryout agreement (PTO), similar to what the Maple Leafs did with Mason Raymond for the 2013 preseason, makes a lot more sense than a one-year standard player contract here. Setoguchi won’t be coming in with any guarantees, should younger players or other options outshine him in training camp. Where the PTO provides the ability to cut bait after camp, a one-year guaranteed contract would’ve at least meant he would be playing the season with the Marlies; if he doesn’t look any good in the NHL camp, having veterans with no future with the big club take up AHL roster spots has been something Marlies GM Kyle Dubas has been steering away from in the past year.
In terms of the numbers game, he’ll have ample competition at camp if we look at the wingers on the depth chart. That said, PA Parenteau figures to be the team’s top right winger currently, so there’s not necessarily a tonne of quality depth standing between him and a one-year contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp Outlook*Player Tryout Agreement
|James van Riemsdyk
(Obviously, a few wingers could be switching sides, or centers to the wing).
Like a number of Leafs attending training camp without much in the way of a contractual commitment, Setoguchi should be hungry.
I realized, this summer coming into free agency, that it’s going to be tough to get a job unless you change the way you are and become more of a professional. That killer mentality, that killer instinct I used to have. It’s something I might have lost the last couple years. Sometimes you need to get to the bottom of the barrel before you realize this could be it for you.