NATION PROFILE: BILL GUERIN

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. 

ARRIVAL

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:

(Nov 1998)

 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.

GONE!

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.

  • Acumen

    It really sucks we didn’t have a Katz any earlier. The core that Sather had put together at the turn of the millenium had the makings of a real contender. Weight, Guerin, Smyth, Marchant, Grier, Niinimaa, Hamrlik, Smith, Cujo/Salo.

    What could have been…

  • Czar

    He always seemed to come out with the puck when went into those battles in the corner or along the boards. Every team is looking for a Guerin type player, we need a couple.

  • Lowetide

    I may be mistaken as my memory is muddy but Weight, Guerin and Smyth may have been the best line in hockey for the first 20 games of the 2000-01 season. Of course, this was when we could count on losing all of our talent as contracts expired. I’m glad that aspect of the team has changed. We can actually enjoy the fruits of labour with the new stars. Hopefully there is a Billy G among them.

  • Lowetide

    Certainly the first contract in NJD was about money, and that got him a ticket out of town. He left Edmonton because the Oilers simply weren’t going to be able to pay him–same for Weight, Hamrlik and others.

    Interesting that the Oilers traded Guerin to Boston along with their own 1st (Shaonne Morrissonn) for Anson Carter and the pick that turned into Hemsky.

    The Oilers had the option of switching first rounders with Boston in 2001 or 2002, and decided Hemsky was worth it in 2001.

  • DSF

    He was good and I loved him as an Oiler but I always remembered him as one of those guys who played for the money. Isn’t it the main reason why he bounced around so much?