It is no secret that it’s been a tough year for Devin Setoguchi.
The 27-year old winger has experienced the inconsistency, ups and downs, just as his Winnipeg Jets have throughout the season. Now that Winnipeg is making a late-season push, and Setoguchi has become a regular contributor once again, it’s time for the Jets to cash in while they can.
Setoguchi was off to a hot start with a three-point night in his second game as a Jet, but his inability to put the puck in the net has plagued him all year since then, which was defined whilst he was recently on an 18-game goalless drought before snapping that on January 13th. Since then, Seto has put up five points, including a two-goal game, and has been a huge part of the Jets’ third line with Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien.
Unfortunately, Setoguchi was not brought to the Jets in the 2013 off-season to be a third-line winger, and his spotty play has forced players such as Michael Frolik and Chris Thorburn to play inside the top six. With Evander Kane missing more than half of the teams’ games since the New Year, and the fourth line struggling to play more than five minutes a game, the Jets’ offense is one that has been miraculously doing enough to put up a 9-3-1 record since new hire Paul Maurice joined the team.
Setoguchi is in the final year of his contract, and posts a $3 million cap hit. Since he is set to be a free agent, he could be seen as a great rental player for teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Ottawa Senators. All three of those clubs could use an extra top-six forward: The Jackets can’t rely on Marian Gaborik to stay healthy, Ottawa has been shuffling the deck all season, and Philadelphia could move down a player from their current position to provide solid depth. On the Jets’ end, any draft picks/prospects would be a good sign for the team moving forward, as they prepare to narrow the age gap on their current roster in the next few years.
Having Setoguchi put up a point total in the 30 region, and cost the Jets $3 million, would be seen as a huge failure for GM Kevin Chevaldayoff. The former first-round draft pick has put up 20+ goal seasons in the past, but he needs to play with good players to be successful. He was unable to develop any chemistry with Brian Little or Scheifele as his pivot, and Setoguchi will not be wearing a Jets jersey in 2014-15. It’s time for Chevy to hit the phones and at least get a return for him.
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