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The Los Angeles Kings placed veteran winger Devin Setoguchi on waivers Sunday.
Los Angeles brought the 30-year-old Setoguchi to their training camp on PTO and he ended up making the team on a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level in part because he played well and also because the Kings needed to add scoring depth on the wing after losing Marian Gaborik for eight weeks at the World Cup of Hockey.
Setoguchi had four goals and eight assists in 45 games with Los Angeles. He had been in and out of the lineup over the last few weeks and hadn’t scored a goal since Dec. 22 against the Nashville Predators. If he clears waivers, sending Setoguchi to the minors could give the Kings a little more salary cap flexibility as they near the trade deadline.
Before this season, Setoguchi had last played in the NHL on Nov. 22, 2014 with the Calgary Flames. After that season – where he also spent time in the AHL with the Adirondack Flames – Setoguchi entered rehab for substance abuse.
He went to Toronto Maple Leafs camp last season on a PTO where he didn’t make the team. Setoguchi said he had been out of rehab for a short period of time and wasn’t in hockey shape.
He then went to Switzerland to play with Davos, where he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 30 games played. Instead of looking in Europe, Setoguchi opted to try a return hockey in North America. Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake had played with Setoguchi with the San Jose Sharks and believed the player still had something left at this level.
Setoguchi was the eighth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft and excelled early in his career with 31 goals in his first full season with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09. But he quickly fell off and never hit 30 again. His highest total after 2008-09 was 22 set in 2010-11.
In five preseason games with Los Angeles, Setoguchi scored one goal and added an assist.
“I didn’t want to head back overseas, I didn’t want to give up on a dream over here so I waited, and waited and waited. Fortunately enough Blakey gave me a chance,” Setoguchi said in a preseason interview with Puck Daddy. “He talked with (general manager) Dean (Lombardi) and it just so happened that it worked out.”
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