CALGARY, AB -- Devin Setoguchi understands the Calgary Flames are going through a rebuilding phase.
He is too.
That’s why the 27-year-old feels he’s a natural fit in the city closest to his hometown of Taber, AB.
“It’s obviously exciting,” said Setoguchi, who had just 27 points last year -- his lowest total over a full schedule since recording 17 in 44 games as a rookie in 2007-08. “There’s a lot of pride in us hockey players and I’m very fortunate Calgary was willing to take a chance on me. I don’t want to let them down.
“I want to prove to myself and to everyone else that didn’t want to take the chance that this can be the year that can really help propel me back into my career. I’m really thankful to Brad and Bob and the ownership group for allowing me to come there and be a part of the organization.”
Setoguchi joins the Flames on a one-year deal.
There’s no guarantee beyond a single season for Setoguchi, hoping to rehab his game after a trying season with the Winnipeg Jets ripe with disappointment all around.
“I think a lot of things happened last year,” he said. “There were some personal things that happened to me last year, but there were a lot of good things to come out of it. It was a young team as well and it was a lot of fun to play in a city where fans loved their hockey so much. I was disappointed in myself to not have the year I would’ve liked.
"It’s difficult as a player to let down a team and let down a city like that.
The Flames haven’t shied away from bringing in local projects.
Last season, Calgary returned local area players Kris Russell, Joe Colborne and TJ Galiardi. While Galiardi departed via free agency to the Jets this summer after a disappointing campaign, Colborne and Russell enjoyed career years.
But it’s not in geography that Setoguchi finds his greatest association to Calgary.
It’s instead in his game, and where he needs it to be.
“I feel like the fit for me in Calgary and the fit for Calgary is a hard-working team that never gives up,” the 6-foot, 200-pound right winger said. “That will and the way they play, that’s the style I need to get back to. That’s the style I played when I was playing my best. I feel like that’s what I need to do in my game in order to be successful and it’s going to fit for the team and I’ll be able to contribute that way if I can get back to playing the way I used to.”
The ‘used to’ has great upside.
Setoguchi’s best year came as a member of the San Jose Sharks in his sophomore season in the NHL, recording 31 goals and 65 points in 81 games.
And the former first round pick (No.8) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft is hoping to renovate his game close to home.
“I’m definitely excited,” Setoguchi said. “I’m with an organization now that’s started to build a new reputation and I’m excited they took a chance on me and believe that I can come in and help the system and help the team.”
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