Player Profile: Devin Setoguchi
Born – 1/1/1987
Position – RW
Ht – 6’0”
Wt – 200
Shoots – Right
The magnifying glass is going to be on Setoguchi this season, as the three-time 20 goal scorer is finally going to move from a secondary scoring role into the spotlight and will get every opportunity to show the form that saw him blossom into a 30-goal scorer and a 60-point player in just his second season in the NHL.
In his second season in the NHL, Setoguchi saw the ice a little over 16 minutes per night and fired 246 shots on net. In this, his fifth season in the NHL, Setoguchi is going to see a lot more than 16 minutes per night.
He’s going to have every opportunity to play on the team’s first line and that means he’ll have every opportunity to play – a lot.
I would expect Setoguchi to get at least 18-19 minutes per game and would be shocked if his shot total isn’t back up to the mid-200 range again. That means he’s going to get more scoring opportunities, and more prime scoring opportunities for one of the Wild’s newest scorers.
If Setoguchi can stay healthy, his presence on the right wing not only will open things up for the wing opposite him (which should be Dany Heatley), but also for Mikko Koivu, who will be centering the Wild’s first line again this season.
The big question, though, is will Setoguchi quail at the pressure of being one of the go-to guys? He’s going to be in a situation that he’s never experienced in his career. He’s going to be one of the go-to guys to put offense on the board. Will he stand up to the pressure?
My personal opinion is, yes, he can.
If you want proof, look at his playoff performance this last season. His ice time was up and he became one of the key goal scorers for the Sharks in their run to the Western Conference Finals. Indeed, he was tied for the team lead in goals in the post season.
If there’s anything that is pressure filled, it’s the playoffs in San Jose and Setoguchi handled that pressure marvelously.
As I mentioned, Setoguchi will be on the team’s first line to start training camp and, likely, to start the season.
That’s great news for Setoguchi, who was always stuck behind players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in San Jose.
He’s going to get an opportunity to spread his wings this season and that could be a scary prospect for the opposition. If he finds any sort of chemistry with his linemates, watch out because this could easily be Setoguchi’s breakout season.
But, let’s bring this back to earth for a minute.
Setoguchi is good. He’s very good, in fact, but he’s also in his first season on a new team with new linemates in a new role. To expect huge numbers out of him is setting him up for failure.
Is he capable of reaching some pretty gaudy numbers this season if the stars align? Sure. Will he? While I’d like to think so, I’d err on the side of caution when handicapping his season.
Look, he’s going to be good and I hope as much as anyone that his season is a big one, but I think that expectations need to be tempered a little bit in this case.
The Hockey News has Setoguchi predicted to be around the 50 point mark, and I think that’s fair for a couple reasons. First is the one I outlined above. New team, new situation and, to be honest, not a whole lot of scoring depth means he’s going to see teams’ top defensemen every night. The second is that he’s not going to be the top option on his line. At times, he might not even be the second option on his line. When the Wild have the ability to run a 1A and 1B line situation (which is what, I believe, the hope is for when Mikael Granlund comes over next season), I think then you’ll see Setoguchi’s numbers inflate a little more, but for now I think the Hockey News has it right.
My prediction for Devin Setoguchi this season is:
77 GP, 25 G, 25 A, 50 PTS