It’s been a dissapointing year for the Winnipeg Jets, to put it lightly. Inconsistency has been the story of the season, and things are looking bleak with the team on a four-game losing streak to enter 2014.
Cue the re-thinking. With a rebuild becoming more and more likely with each loss, what should the Jets do with Devin Setoguchi?
In the off-season, some of the biggest buzz created was when GM Kevin Chevaldayoff picked up forward Devin Setoguchi, to bring scoring power to a Winnipeg team that desperately needed it, and allow depth players to play in a depth role, instead of inside the top-six. Now, Setoguchi hasn’t scored in the Jets’ last seventeen games, and has a plus/minus rating of -6 during that time. Setoguchi’s slump is directly related to his position on the depth chart, on the Jets’ third line. In the Jets’ loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the former first-round draft pick had 5:35 seconds of ice time.
Setoguchi has gone from a replacement for a depth player, to a depth player himself. Playing with the unexceptional Chris Thorburn hasn’t helped him reach his full potential at all, and the Jets’ management is to blame.
Winnipeg won’t seem to tinker with their top two lines, as it is either one or the other that brings the majority of the team’s offense on any given night. However, seeing them both produce in the same game has been a thing of legend throughout the Jets’ last dozen games.
When Setoguchi spent his first season with the Minnesota Wild in 2011 (a far different team than the Wild today), he produced well in a top-six role, scoring 19 goals on an unexceptional team that was a long-shot for the playoffs from the start. Sound familiar?
Larry the Cable Guy once said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Well Jets fans, it’s broke. And no one is fixing it.
Lines need to be shuffled, soon, before this losing streak stretches into six, seven, eight games. Setoguchi needs a chance in a top-six role again, and if he doesn’t perform, it would be time to explore options with the 27-year old.
However, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would trade for a player with five points in his last seventeen games, no matter how well Chevaldayoff plays the “he’s not the right fit” card. A playoff-bound team showing interest in Setoguchi to add depth is a feasible option, but$3 million is a lot of money to tie up on a player that would see around 15:00 of ice-time. Setoguchi is at best, a rental, and the way the Jets are going right now, rentals are the last thing they need.
Winnipeg needs to look at some options for Setoguchi, before he walks out of the Jets’ dressing room season, and the team receives nothing in return. If/when the Jets decide to completely rebuild, a mid-level prospect or draft pick could be a huge addition to the team’s future.
Setoguchi made the team once already this season, but his second tryout starts now. If he doesn’t make the cut, the Jets could be forced to part ways with the Alberta native, and call a bust on what would be a lost trade.
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