Devin Setoguchi believes he is down to his final chance to play the game he loves.
“One last crack,” as he puts it.
The Calgary Flames gave the Alberta native his second-last crack this time a year ago on a one-year deal, and he blew it after failing to live up to a promise to stay sober for the entire season.
“That lasted all of a couple of weeks,” Setoguchi told host Andrew Walker Thursday on Sportsnet 360. “When you’re a young kid making $3.5 million coming from not much, things can get out of hand quickly.
“I ended up going to rehab in April.”
Recently clean and even more recently married, Setoguchi accepted a professional tryout offer with the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The amount of times I’ve let people down, there weren’t a lot of takers on me,” he admitted. Cockiness led to poor decisions which led to denial. “Around the league my word has not really meant much.
“I had gotten to the point where I had diminished any merit I had in the league.”
At 28, Setoguchi is eight seasons removed from the 31-goal, 65-point pinnacle he reached with the San Jose Sharks, under then head coach Todd McLellan.
McLellan, who learned under the wing of Leafs coach Mike Babcock, created a tight, structured dressing room — the type of atmosphere Setoguchi says will suit him.
Humbled by his decline (he failed to register a point in 12 games with Calgary), Setoguchi admitted he had clung to a “crappy,” blame-everyone-else attitude and he put on too much weight.
Re-focused, the winger said he is now under 200 pounds for the first time in nine years. He’s grateful GM Lou Lamoriello, whom he spoke to last summer as well, and the Leafs are giving him an opportunity.
“I still got a lot of work to do, and it starts with this camp,” Setoguchi said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough.
“All the odds are stacked against me.”