On Saturday afternoon, the Calgary Flames announced the signing of right winger Devin Setoguchi - a one-time 30-goal scorer who has seen his stock fall precipitously around the league since he managed 65 points as a 22-year-old with the San Jose Sharks.
Now 27, all Setoguchi was able to procure on the open market this summer was a one-year, one-way deal worth $750,000.
"The last few years of his career have not gone the way he's wanted them to go," said Flames general manager Brad Treliving of the Setoguchi signing during an appearance on Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary. "He's taken complete control of that, and he's been upfront and honest about that."
Calgary's rookie general manager described the process by which the club and Setoguchi came to an agreement, and it sounds like the interview process was rigorous:
Really this goes back a few weeks where I've had a chance to get together with Devin, y'know personally, wanted to see sort of where he was mentally and pose some quite difficult questions to him - in terms of the commitment level and what steps he's taken over the summer.
I can tell you he's really committed himself, he's in fantastic shape, and he really has an understanding of what we're trying to build here in terms of the work ethic and the culture. He's a guy who is looking to restart his career, we felt that the contract and the contract number that he came in at keeps our flexibility here and provides us some low-risk with, in my mind, some upside.
Though Setoguchi's production has fallen off in recent years, Treliving sees an opportunity for the club to accrue good value with this no-risk gamble.
"We've always tried [...] to look for value," Treliving explained. "There's a reason his contract comes in at what it comes in now. And sometimes those are motivating factors for players, they take a hard look - maybe they took some things for granted - and there's a little bit of a wake up call.
"But again he's shown that he can play in the league, he's had some success in the league. As I told him - by no stretch of the imagination are we expecting him to come in [...] and save the world for us, but it's a player that gives us some depth, (and) adds some competition."
Concluded Treliving: "I think there's some upside and value here, and we've got a player whose eager to rebound."
Setoguchi is clearly on the downswing of his career, but he's still likely a credible top-nine forward. All of which makes this is a steal of a bet, the sort of no-lose proposition that in recent summers hockey fans had come to expect. Not from the Flames, but from Treliving's former club, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Bruce Fedyck