Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Speedy winger can't wait to fly with Jets

The Gooch champing at bit to play at the MTS Centre and on a line with Kane

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Newly acquired Jets forward Devin Setoguchi says he's excited about the possibility of playing next season on a line with Evander Kane.

"We talked about it briefly," Setoguchi told reporters on Monday about his conversations with Jets management on the subject of playing with Kane. "You never know what can happen until you get to camp.

"But if I do get that opportunity, obviously it's pretty exciting. He's a pretty special player and a pretty electric player and that would be something that would definitely be exciting for myself."

Setoguchi had 13 goals and 14 assists in 48 games for the Minnesota Wild last season. But he's already being touted as a potential right-winger next season on a line with Kane -- a combination the Jets are hoping might rekindle the kind of output Setoguchi showed with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09, when he scored 31 goals and added 34 assists.

Setoguchi's comments Monday came on a conference call with Winnipeg media and were the first he has made publicly since the Jets announced last Friday they had acquired the winger from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for their second round draft pick in 2014.

Setoguchi -- who was in San Jose on Monday -- explained he was on holiday in Mexico last Friday when he was informed he'd been traded by a friend who showed him a report on his iPad.

While he has never played at the MTS Centre, Setoguchi says he's heard the reports around the league of the electric atmosphere Winnipeg fans create and he is looking forward to being a part of that.

"It's loud and it's exciting to be in front of fans who know what hockey's all about," said Setoguchi.

Setoguchi said there's nothing complicated about his style of game.

"It's pretty simple. I try to play a two-way game and use my speed as much as possible and at the same time put some points up and use my body as much as I can. I try to be a well-rounded player and shoot the puck and try to put pucks in the back of the net."

Setoguchi certainly isn't shy about shooting. His 116 career goals in 384 career NHL games actually out-number the 26-year-old's 106 NHL assists.

Setoguchi seemed to bristle a bit when it was suggested to him by a reporter on the conference call that he might be especially motivated in 2013-14 because he is heading into the final year of his contract. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agency following this 2013-14 season.

"I don't think I want to be labelled as a guy who all of a sudden in a contract year comes out and has a great year," said Setoguchi.

"I just try to take it the same way I have. If it's a contract year, it is... Contract year or not, I'm coming in to have a good year and help the team win."

Setoguchi says he's excited about joining a young Jets team that seems to have room for a player like him and which he thinks has a promising future.

"I think it's a great opportunity for myself to come to a team that I'm going to get the opportunity to play a lot more than I was last year," Setoguchi said. "Being a young group, there's a lot of talent on the rise. Anytime you get that kind of team, it's really exciting."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2013 C3


Updated on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 7:23 AM CDT: fixes headline, adds video

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