The Los Angeles Kings announced they have sent forward Devin Setoguchi to the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
On Sunday, Los Angeles put Setoguchi on waivers and on Monday it was reported he had cleared, enabling the team to move him to the minors. The decision to place Setoguchi in the AHL should give the Kings more salary cap flexibility as the team heads towards the NHL’s trading deadline. He was making a reported $575,000 at the NHL level this season on a two-way contract.
The 30-year-old Setoguchi, a former 31-goal scorer in his early 20s and the eighth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, had been one of the better comeback stories around the league 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.
Los Angeles brought Setoguchi to their training camp on PTO and he ended up making the team 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.
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 at that point. 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 in San Jose and believed the player still had something left at this level, which led to the PTO.
Though it hasn’t worked out on the ice to the level Setoguchi probably hoped, he seemed to enjoy himself away from the rink and seemed grateful for the opportunity to take another crack at the NHL.
“I had a talk with (assistant general manager Rob Blake) the other day, and how thankful I am,” Setoguchi said in October to LA Kings Insider around the time he signed his deal. “I started this chance on a comeback last year, worked into this year, knew coming into camp that there was $57,000 in cap space. That’s kind of draining on a guy, anyway. So for things to work out in the right way and for me to get my opportunity, it’s not like I’m here and I’m here to stay. It’s still, for me, an everyday evaluation on my attitude, my work ethic, my play, my ability, so I’m just thankful to be here, but at the same time I know how important and how critical it is for me to push myself every day in order to get back.”
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