Devin Setoguchi is one of many locked out NHLers who has taken to another professional league in an attempt to keep his skills sharp in the event the work stoppage is lifted and the NHL resumes play. But for Setoguchi, it also means an opportunity to regain some much needed confidence to go along with his scoring touch that saw him net 31-goals as an NHL rookie.
Setoguchi joined the Ontario Reign of the ECHL, a California-based club, and if early indications are any sign of what’s to come Setoguchi has re-found his scoring ways.
Through the first four games with the Reign, Setoguchi has 3 goals and 3 assists and is a modest plus-4. Now four games isn’t a great sample pool but what if he was goalless through the first four? What kind of assumptions would we be making about him then?
One could make the argument that the East Coast Hockey League isn’t much of a test for a NHL proven player like Setoguchi. The league is a step down from the AHL and any roster typically features a mixture of up young talent trying to make a name for themselves, holding out hope for a shot at the big leagues. Those kids are joined by seasoned veterans who won’t make it any higher than the ECHL but are playing out the last few years of their career and collecting a paycheck to support their families.
The talent pool would be considered watered down with the type of players just mentioned making the game a little easier to navigate for Setoguchi.
Regardless of the talent in the league, Setoguchi still has to perform up to par. An average of 1.5 points per game is about where he should be and it’ll be interesting to see where that average is as the ECHL season rolls on. Of course everyone would be happy to see Setoguchi wearing a Wild jersey and delivering the points for his Minnesota club, but for now we’re stuck with the cold reality of the lockout.
At least for Devin Setoguchi, it’s an opportunity to stay fresh, regain his scoring prowess that will be complimented by some much needed confidence.