TOP 100 OILERS: BILL GUERIN (31)

Geurin

I can say without any doubt Bill Guerin absolutely loved playing for the Edmonton Oilers, and he felt that way at a time when the glory days of five Stanley Cups were little more than a faded memory. Teammates and fans, in return, felt the same way about Guerin, a speedy power forward from Massachusetts who arrived in Edmonton via the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 trade that sent Jason Arnott the other way.

On the ice, Guerin was a lethal blend of speed, toughness and talent who could play the game any way you wanted to. Off the ice, he was a popular teammate with the gift of the gab, a cutting sense of humor and a penchant for pranks. It sucked, then, when Guerin was traded to Boston just 211 games after arriving – a transaction he found out about not from Oiler GM Kevin Lowe, but from a fan at his daughter’s figure skating practice on Nov. 15, 2000. In between, Guerin was a helluva player for the Oilers.

Bill Guerin

Right Wing

Born Nov 9 1970 — Wilbraham, MA 

Height 6.02 — Weight 220 [188 cm/100 kg]

Drafted by New Jersey Devils

Round 1 #5 overall 1989 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1991-92

21

NJD

5

0

1

1

1

9

8

0.0

1992-93

22

NJD

65

14

20

34

14

63

123

11.4

1993-94

23

NJD

81

25

19

44

14

101

195

12.8

1994-95

24

NJD

48

12

13

25

6

72

96

12.5

1995-96

25

NJD

80

23

30

53

7

116

216

10.6

1996-97

26

NJD

82

29

18

47

-2

95

177

16.4

1997-98

27

TOT

59

18

21

39

1

93

178

10.1

1997-98

27

NJD

19

5

5

10

0

13

48

10.4

1997-98

27

EDM

40

13

16

29

1

80

130

10.0

1998-99

28

EDM

80

30

34

64

7

133

261

11.5

1576

19:42

1999-00

29

EDM

70

24

22

46

4

123

188

12.8

1262

18:01

2000-01

30

TOT

85

40

45

85

7

140

289

13.8

1870

21:00

2000-01

30

EDM

21

12

10

22

11

18

64

18.8

416

19:49

2000-01

30

BOS

64

28

35

63

-4

122

225

12.4

1454

22:43

2001-02

31

BOS

78

41

25

66

-1

91

355

11.5

1618

20:45

2002-03

32

DAL

64

25

25

50

5

113

229

10.9

1187

18:33

2003-04

33

DAL

82

34

35

69

14

109

263

12.9

1533

18:42

2005-06

35

DAL

70

13

27

40

0

115

210

6.2

1150

16:25

2006-07

36

TOT

77

36

20

56

10

66

225

16.0

1309

16:00

2006-07

36

STL

61

28

19

47

8

52

189

14.8

1063

17:26

2006-07

36

SJS

16

8

1

9

2

14

36

22.2

246

15:22

2007-08

37

NYI

81

23

21

44

-15

65

227

10.1

1408

17:23

2008-09

38

TOT

78

21

27

48

-12

81

226

9.3

1300

16:40

2008-09

38

NYI

61

16

20

36

-15

63

181

8.8

1050

17:13

2008-09

38

PIT

17

5

7

12

3

18

45

11.1

250

14:44

2009-10

39

PIT

78

21

24

45

-9

75

227

9.3

1367

17:32

7 yrs

NJD

380

108

106

214

40

469

863

12.5

4 yrs

EDM

211

79

82

161

23

354

643

12.3

3254

19:02

3 yrs

DAL

216

72

87

159

19

337

702

10.3

3870

17:55

2 yrs

BOS

142

69

60

129

-5

213

580

11.9

3072

21:38

2 yrs

NYI

142

39

41

80

-30

128

408

9.6

2458

17:19

2 yrs

PIT

95

26

31

57

-6

93

272

9.6

1618

17:02

1 yr

SJS

16

8

1

9

2

14

36

22.2

246

15:22

1 yr

STL

61

28

19

47

8

52

189

14.8

1063

17:26

Career

1263

429

427

856

51

1660

3693

11.6

15580

18:29

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1991-92

21

NJD

6

3

0

3

2

4

10

30.0

1992-93

22

NJD

5

1

1

2

-2

4

3

33.3

1993-94

23

NJD

17

2

1

3

1

35

49

4.1

1994-95

24

NJD

20

3

8

11

6

30

28

10.7

1996-97

26

NJD

8

2

1

3

-5

18

13

15.4

1997-98

27

EDM

12

7

1

8

-6

17

47

14.9

1998-99

28

EDM

3

0

2

2

-4

2

8

0.0

79

26:14

1999-00

29

EDM

5

3

2

5

-1

9

12

25.0

90

17:55

2001-02

31

BOS

6

4

2

6

-2

6

25

16.0

128

21:17

2002-03

32

DAL

4

0

0

0

-1

4

3

0.0

34

8:34

2003-04

33

DAL

5

0

1

1

-1

4

23

0.0

101

20:09

2005-06

35

DAL

5

3

1

4

-2

0

18

16.7

81

16:14

2006-07

36

SJS

9

0

2

2

-3

12

22

0.0

154

17:06

2008-09

38

PIT

24

7

8

15

8

15

70

10.0

408

17:01

2009-10

39

PIT

11

4

5

9

3

2

30

13.3

201

18:17

Career

140

39

35

74

-7

162

361

10.8

1276

17:43

NOTABLE

It didn’t long after being acquired by Glen Sather for Guerin to become a fixture on Edmonton’s top line alongside captain Doug Weight, who was Edmonton’s best player and would become Guerin’s best friend, and Ryan Smyth. Guerin, who roared up and down the left side, and Weight, silky smooth and a deft playmaker, were a fit. With Smyth banging in the loose change around the net, it was a tremendous trio.

Guerin’s best regular season in Edmonton was 1998-99, when he scored 30-34-64 in 80 games. Guerin’s best post-season here was 1998, when he scored seven goals and had eight points in 12 games – a 4-3 series win over Colorado and a second-round loss to the Dallas Stars in five games. It was in that first-round win over Colorado that Guerin earned the nickname Billy the Butcher for opening up Peter Forsberg with his stick.

Guerin and Weight were inseparable off the ice and are best friends to this day. They were particularly adept at cutting up the travelling media – especially when it came to jabs about being out of shape. At the end of one difficult travel day full of delays, the team bus finally pulled up in front of the hotel in St. Louis and Guerin proclaimed, “Free the hostages.” As I bolted for the door, Guerin added, “I said hostages, not sausages” to many guffaws. After that shot, Guerin made a habit of sending me a side of sausages at breakfast when we were on the road.

THE STORY

As was the case too often with the Oilers in the 1990s and leading up to a new CBA and salary cap, the November 2000 departure of Guerin, who’d won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995, was as much about finance and a tight budget as it was about hockey. Guerin was dealt to Boston for Anson Carter and draft picks that turned into Ales Hemsky and Doug Lynch. It was a tough day as stunned teammates rushed to Guerin’s house.

“It’s bittersweet. Actually, it’s not sweet,” said Guerin. ”I’m just disappointed at the timing. With the way things were going, I thought I’d found a home here, but you have to be professional about this I guess.” Added Weight: “I’ve got to sleep on this one. I don’t know what to tell you. Obviously, this is a time that’s difficult. Billy’s a big part of this team and a big part of my life. He’s a very close friend of mine and that’s first and foremost. I’m disappointed he’s leaving.” My story from that day is here.

After a 41-goal season with Boston, Guerin signed as a free agent with Dallas for the kind of money — $40 million over five seasons – that was simply an impossibility in Edmonton. Even then, and in later stops in St, Louis, San Jose, Long Island and Pittsburgh, where he’s now the assistant GM, Guerin always made a point of talking about his time in Edmonton. Like Weight, who’d be traded by the Oilers just over eight months later, Guerin never wanted to leave.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

PREVIOUSLY:

      • Aside from having a physical component, Brown is a pretty big step down in skating and scoring when you look at their careers.

        Guerin scored 30-or-more goals five times, including two seasons in the 40s. Brown has hit 30 once and likely won’t do it again.

        Tough to compare a lot of guys to Guerin because of the scoring, skating and toughness dimensions. Some guys have two of them, but few have all three.

  • Rama Lama

    RB………the sausages thing made me laugh! This has been a long haul for you writing all these articles on the top 100.

    I for one love these articles, especially when there are side-bar stories which in my mind make the series…….just so you know.

  • D

    That late 1990s team was so close to being a contender. Finances prevented them from taking the next step. Guerin, Weight, Cujo, Smyth and Hamrlík could have formed a nice long-term core if the Oilers could have afforded to keep them.

  • ubermiguel

    For those too young to remember, this is one reason I will never boo Gary Bettman; his salary cap ended these ridiculous trades made only because the “have” teams were killing us “have-not” teams with insane contracts.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Fair enough. I know what you are saying.

      On the same topic – Ever look at who the “have” teams were in the 90s and where they are today?

      Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and a few others were destination teams playing in big American markets whose owners understood what it took to win and were aggressive in free agency.

      I think they were less “have” teams and more teams that had generous credit.

      Because they are all broke today.

  • Kaplan

    Bill Guerin was my favourite all-around Oiler of that era, and I was devastated to see him traded (though I became a huge Anson Carter fan!).

    Getting him for Arnott was a blessing in disguise, and I followed his play with the Devils before Sather cut Arnott lose. I was one of the few who was glad for the trade (the mood around here towards Arnott was not completely dissimilar to that surrounding Justin Schultz before he left – both the fans and media decidedly turned on a skill player who just couldn’t lift the team on his own, or have the mental toughness to the “that guy” in a small market where the cupboard was usually pretty bare).

    Great piece, Robin.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    I remember in 2000-01, the line of Weight, Guerin and Smyth was the hottest line in the NHL those first 21 games and they traded him.

    So disheartening.

  • Frank Rizza

    My favourite memory of Billy G was in that playoffs where he scored 7 goals, three of them came in a hat trick against Dallas. In fact im almost sure Dougie and Guerin scored hat tricks in back to back games in that series (one win and one loss), I think they lost that series in 5.

    My favourite part about that wasn’t the actual hat trick, but the call on the highlight package on the score from Tim Mcallef later that night, “trick please! Billy the kid’s got three”. I was 18 at the time and for some reason I have thought about that line at least once a month for the last 19 years.