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Setoguchi Believes Winnipeg Will Be A Big Step Forward for his NHL Career

By Scott Billeck

Devin Setoguchi believes moving from the Minnesota Wild to the Winnipeg Jets will be a great opportunity to develop as a National Hockey League player. The Jets sure need more of those guys around the league.

On Monday, Setoguchi held a conference call with the local news media and said he had no idea he’d been dealt until a former teammate told him.

Devin Setoguchi

Devin Setoguchi

“I didn’t really hear it (that I’d been traded) until Zenon Konopka (former teammate with the Wild) came out on his iPad and told me that I had been traded,” Setoguchi said. “I think it is a great opportunity for myself to come to a team where I am going to get an opportunity and play a lot more than where I was last year.

“It is a young group, there is a lot of talent and on the uprise – anytime you get that kind of team it’s really exciting.”

Setoguchi was asked if there might be less pressure on him playing in Winnipeg as opposed to playing in Minnesota. After all, when he was acquired by the Wild from the San Jose Sharks, the Wild dealt the outstanding Brent Burns for the former 30 goal scorer. The Jets only gave up a second round draft pick.

“I don’t see it that way,” said Setoguchi.  “I can only imagine there is going to be some scrutiny wherever you go, it is no different if you get traded for a high-profile guy or a draft pick.

“But that is why we play, we play for that thrill, to be a clutch player, a pressure player.”

Devin Setoguchi will likely play alongside Evander Kane.

Devin Setoguchi will likely play alongside Evander Kane.

Setoguchi was pretty blunt when discussing what he wanted to do as a member of the Winnipeg Jets.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “I try to play a two-way game and use my speed as much as possible and at the same time put some points up and use my body as much as I can as well. I try and be a well-rounded player and shoot the puck, put goals in the back of the net.”

Setoguchi was excited about the prospects of playing alongside the talented Evander Kane.

“He’s pretty special player, a pretty electric player,” he said. “It would be something that would definitely very exciting for myself.”

This is the final year of Setoguchi’s current contract. There is no question it’s a big year for the 26-year-old winger.

“I just try and take it the same way I have, if it is a contract year I just come in and play my game and be as motivated as possible to help out the team,” said Setoguchi.  “Contract year or not I am coming into the year to have a good year.”

Setoguchi leads the rush.

Setoguchi leads the rush.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff believes that by adding Setoguchi, along with Michael Frolik, the Jets are a better team now than they were last year.

“We feel we’re a much better team today than we were entering the NHL entry draft with the two players (Michael Frolik and Setoguchi) we were able to acquire,” Cheveldayoff said via conference call last Friday.

“I guess the first time I had a conversation with Chuck Fletcher (Minnesota Wild GM) was on the draft floor. We were looking to do something with some of the picks we had acquired. At that point in time Chuck wasn’t prepared to do anything, so we went ahead with the Frolik deal but kept in touch as the days transpired, and then it kind of came together late this afternoon.”

Setoguchi plans to travel to the city in the next few weeks and then make the move here in September to get settled into his surroundings.

“For me now it is just having a really great summer here,” he said.

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