Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rangers After Devin Setoguchi?

There have been and will continue to be trade rumors that surround the Rangers as the season goes on.  The latest that I have been made aware of involves the New York Rangers apparently trying to acquire 23 year old RW Devin Setoguchi from San Jose.  Initially I had planned on avoiding the rumor because of the source, but my job is not really to judge the source just let you tell you what I think, let you decide and discuss it with you if you like.  So since some of you asking me about it I guess I should just write my thoughts on trading for Setoguchi, what San Jose could possibly want from the Rangers for him and what I would give up to obtain him.

On the surface the idea of acquiring Devin Setoguchi looks intriguing especially when you look at what he did a few years ago as a top line player.  Two seasons ago Devin Setoguchi played on the top line with Joe Thornton and as a 21 year old have a 31 goal 34 assist campaign which had him looking like a rising star in the league.  Fast forward two years and after being removed from the presence of Joe Thornton and struggling to maintain a shadow of the prior year form he showed he has 2 goals and 5 assists in 21 games this season.  It leads one to question if the numbers that Gooch put up in that great season were signs of how good he can be or more a product of playing with Joe Thornton.

Not that it is a definitive answer to that question, but let us look at another guy who had a similar differential with and without Joe Thornton. The case that keeps running through my mind is Jonathan Cheechoo who five years ago playing with Thornton put up 51 goals in a season then declined to 37 then 23, 12 before being part of the Heatley trade scoring 5 goals and going to the minors.  As I said there is no way to know if Setoguchi is another Cheechoo or just a guy that has that 30 goal talent and needs a change of scenery since he is no longer getting the same opportunities in San Jose. 

The main attributes to Setoguchi’s game are his hard shot and his speed, but at this point he is more of a third line player based on his production and the Rangers certainly have enough of those already.  There are many who will say that maybe he just needs a change of scenery and that might well be the case, but the Rangers over the years have played that card hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and it never seems to quite work out just look at their history.  Heck look no further than three wingers they thought they could fix the last two seasons in Higgins, Kotalik and Frolov. 

I do not know what the Sharks would want for Setoguchi though their main need is a top 4 d-man and their prospect line could use some help, probably along the defense more than anything as well.  For me the only defensive player in the Rangers top 10 d-men who are under contract so including Kundratek, McDonagh and Valentenko from Hartford that I would give up to take a flier on Setoguchi would be Gilroy.  The salaries basically match and Gilly is done getting a real shot here, but I doubt the Sharks would make that deal and still will try to market Gooch based on his past performance for a higher return than that. I know that a lot of Rangers fans will hope for Rozi but he has been too valuable this year to move in this kind of deal as have Eminger, Sauer and the three in Hartford are all showing big improvements as we move along.

So, if it was not clear, I pass.