In a move that was probably a long time coming, Devin Setoguchi was placed on waivers yesterday by the Los Angeles Kings. No team has picked him up, so he cleared this morning and is apparently headed to Ontario.
Setoguchi to ONT via hockey ops https://t.co/wd0Jmmo3XN— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) February 13, 2017
The surface-level implications here are quite simple. First: Setoguchi, like Teddy Purcell before him, simply hasn’t been able to find a fit in LA’s bottom six as of late. Even when Setoguchi was thriving with Dustin Brown and Nic Dowd (as we wrote about here), the line wasn’t getting results to back up their efforts (as we wrote about here). Now that Darryl Sutter has returned to giving more ice time to guys like Marian Gaborik, Trevor Lewis, and Dwight King, Setoguchi has seen his own ice time plunge. And if Sutter prefers ten minutes of Andreoff or Clifford to ten minutes of Setoguchi, that’s where Setoguchi’s run ends.
Additional implication: this is where LA’s offseason signings come into play. Like the Kings’ other pickups, Setoguchi has ended up in the AHL with the Ontario Reign. Sensibly, the AHL has rules in place to prevent teams from loading up on veterans. See:
lost in the fact that LA keeps sending experienced players down is that making a lineup gets more difficult b/c of the AHL's veteran rule pic.twitter.com/Z1sRO1x0FC— sarah. (@goorgoahead) February 12, 2017
So a maximum of five skaters can have more than 320 games played, and an additional player can have more than 260. Who’s above 260? On the Reign: Purcell, Gilbert, Rob Scuderi, TJ Hensick, Sean Backman, Vincent LoVerde, Brett Sutter, Paul Bissonnette, and Cam Schilling. That’s a lot of players. On Friday against San Diego, the Reign played LoVerde (who has more than 260 but fewer than 320), Sutter, Schilling, Gilbert, Backman, and Hensick. On Sunday, it was the latter five. LoVerde is hurt temporarily, and he can fill that sixth bonus spot, but Setoguchi’s arrival means less opportunity for Purcell and Gilbert (who could potentially return to LA) to stay fresh.
Setoguchi isn’t necessarily done for the Kings this season, but it continues to be a balancing act for the organization to keep their veterans fresh and to allow their prospects to play every night. We’ll see if that has any effect.