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Fantasy Spin: Setoguchi among League's best of late

by Pete Jensen

Everything is falling into place for the Minnesota Wild these days, as the club is reaping the benefits of its bold activity over the past two offseasons.

Fantasy owners are well aware of what the team accomplished last summer, signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to long-term contracts. That tandem has impressed through 29 games this season, combining for 20 power-play points. Parise has 23 points and is tied for fifth in the NHL in shots on goal (110), while Suter is second among all defensemen in points (24) and tied for sixth among all skaters in assists (22).

The Wild acquired Setoguchi from the Sharks on Draft day in 2011. He's finally becoming the offensive spark plug the team -- and fantasy owners -- hoped he would be. (Photo: Getty Images)

But another key component of the Wild's success has gone virtually unnoticed until this week. Devin Setoguchi, who Minnesota acquired from the San Jose Sharks when it hosted the 2011 NHL Draft, is raising eyebrows across the NHL again -- gaining fantasy relevance as a result.

Over the last 10 days, Setoguchi has been the League's hottest forward, accumulating six goals, 17 shots on goal and a plus-6 during that five-game span. When his point-production tear was in its early stages exactly two weeks ago, his ownership only stood at seven percent in Yahoo! leagues. As of Friday morning, that number is up to 30 percent.

He's skating primarily on a line with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard of late and is finally giving the Wild offense a lift. Setoguchi sees nearly two and a half minutes per game with the man advantage this season and has notched four power-play goals.

Setoguchi has been a force to be reckoned with in the past, exploding for 65 points in his sophomore season in 2008-09. Then, after a few down years, he made a name for himself with some goal-scoring flair in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with seven goals and 10 points in 18 games for the Sharks. Last season, his first with the Wild, he missed time due to injury and finished with a poor minus-17 and only 36 points in 69 games.

But this season has been a different story, as Setoguchi has played in all 29 games for Minnesota. It's not a coincidence that the team is clicking on all cylinders, as Setoguchi's play has fueled the fire on a nightly basis recently. After recording a point in only two of his first 10 games to begin the season, the 26-year-old has posted at least a point in 14 of his ensuing 19 contests.

If Setoguchi is still available in your league, where does he fit in? Whether you're seeking a point-production boost due to recent injuries (i.e. Vincent Lecavalier, Milan Michalek, etc.) or strictly underperformance (i.e. Brad Richards, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, etc.), now may be the time to take a chance on this crafty forward -- especially with the fantasy playoffs only weeks away.

After all, if Setoguchi keeps this up much longer, it's only a matter of time before he's owned in the vast majority of fantasy leagues.


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