- Hockey Rambling
- Written by Thomas Drance
Ramblings on Devin Setoguchi, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Toews' wake surfboard.
We were in danger of living through the single slowest news day of the hockey year on Saturday, but that was before Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving heroically stepped up and signed Devin Setoguchi to a one-year, one-way, $750k contract.
It's a nice deal for the Flames, who get a credible top-nine forward on a no-risk contract. Because Setoguchi's contract figure isn't high enough to be tolled against the salary cap even if he clears waivers and gets re-assigned to Adirondack, the absolute worst outcome for the Flames is that they overpay Setoguchi to tear up the American Hockey League.
I doubt the worst will come to pass though, since Setoguchi is a solid enough player who was snakebit like crazy last season. The one-time 30 goal scorer had an on-ice shooting percentage below 6 with the Winnipeg Jets a year ago, an unsustainably low number that is likely to bounce back this upcoming season (over the past five seasons Setoguchi's on-ice five-on-five shooting percentage sits at 7.4 percent).
While I like this move I have to admit I'm pretty skeptical that, even in a sixth forward's role with power-play time, Setoguchi is a likely 40 point scorer at this stage in his career.
At 27-years-old his offensive prime is in the rearview mirror and his shot rate dipped significantly last season - a troubling sign for his future output. Still, on a Flames team that has David Jones and Brian McGrattan at right wing and... Not much else, Setoguchi is a massive upgrade.
Flames general manager Jim Treliving went on Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary to discuss the signing on Saturday afternoon, and had some interesting things to say about the deal.
In particular, the Boston Pizza scion talked about the recruitment process and shed some light on the care and effort that goes into making this sort of gamble:
Obviously, since coming here we've said that we'd continue to look at finding ways that we can upgrade ourselves. [...] So we've been looking, and with Devin... the last few years of his career have not gone the way he's wanted them to go. He's taken complete control of that, and he's been upfront and honest about that. Really this goes back a few weeks where I've had a chance to get together with Devin, y'know personally, wanted to see sort of where he was mentally and pose some quite difficult questions to him - in terms of the commitment level and what steps he's taken over the summer.
I can tell you he's really committed himself, he's in fantastic shape, and he really has an understanding of what we're trying to build here in terms of the work ethic and the culture. He's a guy who is looking to restart his career, we felt that the contract and the contract number that he came in at keeps our flexibility here and provides us some low-risk with, in my mind, some upside.
He also explained the thinking behind making a gamble of this sort, with a focus on the importance of finding value:
"I think, one thing we've always tried to do here is look for value. Again, as I said earlier - sometimes those things don't happen in early parts of July. you continue to work at it, continue to do your homework and see where there might be value. Those are things that are ongoing, I keep coming back here, there's a reason based upon the last few years, we know what Devin's been making in his last contract, there's a reason his contract comes in at what it comes in now. And sometimes those are motivating factors for players, they take a hard look, maybe they took some things for granted, and there's a little bit of a wake up call.
But again he's shown that he can play in the league, he's had some success in the league. As I told him - by no stretch of the imagination are we expecting him to come in and change and save the world for us, but it's a player that gives us some depth, adds some competition - as we wanted to do and will continue to do... we've tried to create some internal competition for roster spots and for ice time - and this does all that without tying us flexibility wise. I think there's some upside and value here, and we've got a player whose eager to rebound.
Treliving comes across as an intelligent guy, and in my opinion, this Setoguchi deal is likely to prove a major league steal.
Aaron Ekblad says he's recovered completely from the concussion he sustained at Team Canada's U20 summer development camp this summer, which is great news.
One thing I've been thinking about regarding the play Ekblad got injured on. During the sequence he was dog tired after an icing. Actually he'd gone back to the bench and the on-ice officials ordered him back onto the ice.
At the tail end of a second consecutive extended shift, Ekblad tried to enter the zone with the puck and got sandwiched by a pair of Czech U20 players.
I get that coaches and management types are trying to simulate a game situation at these friendly games, but I wonder if enforcing the "stay on the ice after an icing rule" is just asking for trouble. It's one thing when the game matters, it's another when it's a damn friendly.
In a video he posted on Instagram, a group of women in Boston react to Tyler Seguin like he's a member of the Beatles, which is all kinds of funny.
Jonathan Toews is... Funny? Who knew?
Remarkable balance on display from Toews in his Ice Bucket Challenge video, where he performs the classic "pouring of freezing cold water on himself" while wake surfing.
Is it October yet? Is it October yet? Is it October yet? Is it October yet?