Okay so Devin Setoguchi isn't a prospect per se, but he is a draft-day pickup. And other than Pavol Demitra, Setoguchi is the biggest draft grab in Wild history as the centerpiece of the Brent Burns trade so it seems fitting to profile him alongside the others (or profile him more).
When Gary reacts, you know it's big.
So who is Devin Setoguchi?
Devin Setoguchi is a 24 year-old forward from Taber, Alberta. Standing at 6'0" 200 lbs, the right-hand shot was drafted by San Jose eighth overall in 2005 (or four spots after Minnesota drafted Benoit Pouliot). After time in Canadian juniors, the former Saskatoon Blade made his NHL debut in 2007. An Asian-Canadian, Setoguchi (or "Gooch" or "Seto" or whatever new nickname fans in St. Paul can come up with) has scored 84 goals in 267 regular-season games for San Jose; including a 31-goal season in 2008-2009.
He's also a lousy lawyer...
...and an excellent guitar player.
However, Setoguchi has been plagued by the same scoring problems that many in the Minnesota organization have in that he hasn't been able to string together a consistent season. Although Devin signed a three-year, $9 million contract on Thursday to reward his play, this past year saw Setoguchi score only two goals in his first thirty-one games before almost doubling his season point total in the next six. Despite being a three-time 20 goal scorer, it's a system which frustrates Sharks fans much in the same way Antii Miettinen was to Wild fans. Still, Setoguchi is an improvement over Miettinen on the first line as Mikko Koivu's right winger and carries attributes like blazing acceleration and physical play.
Is this a good move?
Is there a word which is better than yes? Minnesota has been a team without a major goal scorer since Marian Gaborik departed in 2009. Marty Havlat has scored 18 and 22 goals the last two seasons but teams have been able to focus on him while Mikko Koivu, a playmaker more than a goal scoring threat, tries to get the most out of his wingers. That was even more the case last season with 25-goal scorer Gui Latendresse injured for most of the year. For a team which outshot their opponents thirteen times last season, getting a player of Setoguchi's caliber and locked up cheaply for three years helps the Wild and new coach Mike Yeo be able to roll two complete scoring lines and more shots on net.
The Wild also benefit from Setoguchi's speed and physical play. Getting a line like Pierre-Marc Bouchar-Mikko Koivu-Devin Setoguchi allows for two guys with speed (PMB and Setoguchi) to actively forecheck and create better opportunities (which wasn't really possible with someone like Andrew Brunette). At the same time, Setoguchi, who lead all San Jose forwards with 43 hits this postseason, still brings the physical game necessary to protect the puck and play in the Western Conference (even with the loss of someone like Andrew Brunette). With players like Clutterbuck, Latendresse and newly acquired Daroll Powe, Fletcher is building a forward corps full of speed and/or physicality, so Setoguchi seems to adhere to that philosophy.
Finally, just getting Devin off of the bottom-six in San Jose is a boost for his confidence. He's not a bottom-six player and like everyone thrives playing with better talent. That's been the case over the last few seasons when playing with a player like Joe Thornton and while there are others who have flamed out after leaving San Jose (see: Johnathan Cheechoo), it's hard to see that being the case with Setoguchi. He's a 24 year-old still finding his ceiling and doesn't have the skating concerns which Cheechoo did. Putting Devin on a line with Mikko Koivu, a player who makes others better (albeit not at the level of Joe Thornton) and hasn't had the best wingers, should help both flourish and boost Setoguchi's confidence. At the very least, he looks to want to make his mark by taking the most famous number in Wild history and making it his own:
Tape should take care of that Gaborwhatever last name...
Can't get more ballsy than that. The Wild might not be at the level of San Jose or some of the other Western Conference elites, but having a centerpiece like Devin Setoguchi is a good step in the right direction.