Here’s a saying that doesn’t sound right for a New York professional sports team: money is tight. This is a dilemma the New York Rangers are facing, as they continue to stay silent in free agency. The tight salary cap is forcing Glen Sather and company to be really careful about who they sign. Minus center, a need is an offensive winger on the third line.
Enter Devin Setoguchi. Known as “Gooch,” the 27-year-old is coming off a disappointing season with the Winnipeg Jets (11 goals, 27 points). Setoguchi is at a point in his career similar to Benoit Pouliot, where a player with once high expectations just can’t seem to find his stride. I’m sure signing him and placing him in Alain Vigneault‘s fast-tempo system will bring out the best of his offensive abilities, since he is a former 30-goal scorer.
One of the other positives about Setoguchi is the cap situation. He only made $3 million this past season, and with how he’s been playing, could come even cheaper. Sign him up and put him on the third line with (maybe?) Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard, and they could score even more goals than they did this past season.
A red flag when considering Setoguchi is his inconsistency. Like I previously mentioned, Gooch has potential to score 30-goals goals in any season, but the problem is, can you wait for that moment and deal with his struggle to even tally 30 points in a season as well? His defensive prowess is weak too, as he’s rarely engaging in checks or blocking shots.
Setoguchi would be a little bit of a gamble, but at least he isn’t a locker-room disaster like Mike Ribeiro and can provide offense given the right system. Vigneault seems like the coach who can help a struggling offensive player, and with a player that should be playing like he’s in his prime, this wouldn’t be a bad option for New York.