Minnesota Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi has signed with the Reign, the first locked-out player under NHL contract to join the team.
The 25-year-old had 19 goals and 36 points last season, his fifth in the NHL. He scored a career-high 31 goals in 2008-09 with the San Jose Sharks.
Setoguchi joins a number of NHL players who are turning outside the league to keep their game sharp during the lockout. Few have chosen the ECHL, however, and three — Brandon Dubinsky, Joey Crabb, Nate Thompson — play for the Alaska Aces, a Western Conference rival of the Reign. The Reign already have defenseman Paul Mara, who sat out last season following an 11-year NHL career.
The Reign (4-4-0) visit the Las Vegas Wranglers (3-1-1) on Friday and Saturday before returning home Sunday to play the Bakersfield Condors (3-4-1).
Setoguchi wrote “First game Friday” on his Twitter account but his agent, Paul Krepelka, said in an email that he didn’t know when Setoguchi would play his first game with the Reign.
Setoguchi has scored 103 goals in 336 career NHL games after the Sharks drafted him in the first round (eighth overall) in 2005. He’s only played 23 minor-league games in his career, all at the AHL level in 2007-08. He was traded to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Brent Burns in June 2011.
Among NHL players, Setoguchi is considered an above-average skater with an above-average wrist shot. That should immediately help a Reign team that has had trouble finishing, averaging just 2.6 goals per game through its first eight games.
The Reign have not announced a corresponding roster move.