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Devin Setoguchi appears poised to start the season with the Kings

Devin Setoguchi appears poised to start the season with the Kings
Devin Setoguchi played for four teams during his eight NHL seasons before joining the Kings. (Marianne Helm / Getty Images)

There are two especially stressful spells for NHL players: The days leading up to the trade deadline and the days before the regular season.

It is no different for the Kings, with their season opener set for Wednesday at San Jose. Veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi and forward Michael Latta were put on waivers Monday, according to reports.

Adrian Kempe, Michael Mersch, Paul LaDue and Kurtis MacDermid were not on the ice at El Segundo. Official word of their minor league assignments to Ontario is expected to come Tuesday.

The bigger news, however, had to do with a player still around. Winger Devin Setoguchi, in camp on a professional tryout, continues to defy the odds and is poised to play his first NHL game since November 2014.  Setoguchi recalled he was about “20 pounds heavier and out of shape” at that time.

One of the executives in the Kings' hockey operations said Monday that  the team was still "working on" a contract for Setoguchi.

"I thought I gave myself a chance. By no means is it over. It's an everyday thing for me," Setoguchi said Monday.  "I've got to make sure that I keep improving and getting better and trying to prove my worth here in L.A."

Setoguchi played on the No. 1 line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown in Las Vegas in the exhibition finale against Colorado and skated with them again in Monday’s practice. Center Nick Shore (undisclosed injury) returned to practice.

"It's good as long as you can produce," Setoguchi said. "You're going to get the opportunity to play and it's what you do with it that makes you and your game. Obviously, [Kopitar and Brown are] both highly talented players. I'm thankful to be in the position that I'm in. But I can't be complacent and take things for granted."

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Last season, Setoguchi was playing in Switzerland for Davos. A former teammate, the SharksJoe Thornton, helped to set up that  opportunity.  His last NHL regular-season game was on Nov. 22, 2014, when he was a member of the Calgary Flames.

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"I started this chance on a comeback last year, working into this year," Setoguchi said. "I knew, coming into camp, that there was $57,000 in cap space. That's kind of draining on a guy."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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