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He Knows The Way To San Jose

by Tony Khing / San Jose Sharks
If Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson ever needed a player to extol the virtues of playing in San Jose, his first stop may be at Devin Setoguchi’s locker stall.

In this May 4, 2011, file photo, San Jose Sharks Devin Setoguchi celebrates his game-winning goal against the Detroit Red Wings in overtime of Game 3 during a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Detroit. The Sharks have signed Setoguchi to a three-year contract to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent next month. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Setoguchi, who signed a three-year contract extension today, was more than happy about remaining as a member of the Sharks.

“I’m super excited to be able to stay in the organization,” Setoguchi said. “All the way from the players to management, it’s been one of the best situations I could’ve come into. San Jose is such a great place to play. The organization is great and the team is top-notch. All the way through, it’s the best place to play in the National Hockey League. I couldn’t be happier.

“We didn’t look at any other place,” Setoguchi added. “We wanted to get our deal done in San Jose.”

“He’s a very talented player that has shown what he’s capable of in the last half of the year and the playoffs,” Wilson said. “He’s an important piece that’s trending in the right direction. We’re happy to have this deal done.”

Setoguchi would like to forget about the first half of last season. He only scored two goals in San Jose’s first 31 games. But he scored 27 from Game No. 32 all the way through the playoffs (20 regular season and shared the team lead with seven in the postseason).

After scoring a career-high 31 goals in 2008-09, Setoguchi had 20 in 2009-10 to go with his 22 last season. As he prepares for the first year of his new three-year deal, Setoguchi is working out with one thing in mind.

“The one thing I want to work on is the consistency part of my game,” he said. “That’s the one thing I’m really working on with my trainers.

“My main focus is having a full season where I can play to my full capabilities,” Setoguchi added. “It’s not about scoring goals or getting points. It’s about using your assets as a player. For me, that’s using my speed. I’m not a big guy, but I like to be physical, get to loose pucks and win battles.”

Someone else is aware of what Setoguchi needs to do as well.

“There’s still some inconsistency to his game that he acknowledges,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to sit and say, ‘How you played last year is good enough.’ You’re always looking for, particularly in goal scorers, more of a consistent type of game. He should demand that of himself and we will, too.”

As the Sharks enter tomorrow’s NHL Entry Draft, Wilson has a little more clarity with his roster situation. The Setoguchi signing reduces his restricted free agent list to six players (Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero, John McCarthy, Jamie McGinn, Frazer McLaren and Alex Stalock). There’s also four unrestricted free agents (Ben Eager, Kent Huskins, Kyle Wellwood and Ian White) on the docket.

“You always try to be ahead of the curve,” Wilson said of the importance of getting Setoguchi’s deal done. “You’re always looking at all of your options and exploring everything. Putting closure to this deal and some others we’re looking at is important to do so you can build on it.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done by everyone, especially for Setoguchi. “There’s still a lot of room for me to improve,” he said.

At least Setoguchi knows he can stay in a place that he really likes.

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