May 31 2013 06:36AM
Bill Guerin was a power forward, and an extremely effective NHL player. During his time in an Oiler uniform, Guerin supplied the Oilers with a valuable combination of size, skill, grit and toughness. Since he left Edmonton, Oiler fans have had an annual reminder about just how unique power forwards are, and how much of a difference they can make to a skill line.
Billy Guerin for Jason Arnott may have appeared to be "my young problem for your young problem" but in reality it was a trade of two players with outstanding futures. Both would have a major impact on the 2000's and both would become famous players.
Guerin in Edmonton was a dream. It didn't take long to establish that he had a little more offense than some had suggested:
TOUGH, GRITTY AND A LITTLE MEAN
and those qualities were electric when added to exceptional skill:
As an Oiler, Bill Guerin displayed good speed, quickness and a plus shot offensively. He played at 6.02, 190 and was build like a brick outhouse--the man could hit and hurt. He was not expected to be the scorer he would one day become, and his defensive game early was a question mark (playing for Lemaire in NJ cleared that right up, however).
He was much more than a hard hitter with a big shot (his original scouting report suggested Cam Neely) and as an Oiler he scored 69 goals in 211 games (or about 27 per 82gp). After he left Edmonton, Guerin would reach his offensive peak (40, 41, 25, 34 and 36 goals would be reached after leaving the Oilers) and was one of the finest PF's of his generation.
Billy Guerin was well known to NHL hockey men when he was in high school (he was drafted out of high school while playing for the Springfield Olympics--EJHL). He attended Boston College for 2 years, and then another year with Team USA and finally some time in Utica (AHL) readying himself for the NHL grind.
Those who remember Guerin as an Oiler will tell you he's exactly what this team needs right now for a skill line. Then, as now, power forwards with hands go during the 'lottery' phase of each season's entry draft.