A number of names have popped up in the early stages of the Oilers search for their next General Manager. One of the names I find intriguing for a couple of different reasons is former Oiler Bill Guerin. There are a lot of questions one can ask when it comes to the former power forward. Is he ready to take over a franchise? Is he qualified? How would Oilers fan react to his hiring? Would he even want the job?
HE HAS MY SUPPORT
I mentioned this on the Nielson Show on Friday morning; Guerin is getting my full support based solely on this video below.
So from now on when you order a salami and cheese sandwich with pickles on the side and a couple of small scoops of peanut butter make sure you refer to it as a Billy Guerin Special.
I can see it now, the Bobby Nicks burger replaced by the Billy Guerin Special.
IS HE QUALIFIED?
Guerin has been steadily working his way up through the Penguins front office since he started as their development coach in 2011. He spent three full seasons in the development role while obviously getting a feel for other aspects of the organization.
“Billy has only been retired as a player for one year, so he brings a new and very contemporary perspective to the position. He is going to be a big asset to our young prospects throughout the organization, and to our staff,” said former General Manager Ray Shero at the time of the hiring.
During his time in player development, Guerin would have been keeping tabs on and working with the likes of Olli Maatta, Matt Murray and Jake Guentzel.
The Penguins named Jim Rutherford General Manager in early June and that’s when Guerin was bumped up the ladder. With Jason Botterill being the Associate G.M. Guerin, along with Tom Fitzgerald, was given the role of assistant general manager.
Fitzgerald followed Ray Shero to New Jersey while Guerin continued to work his way up the totem pole in Pittsburgh. After spending three years as assistant G.M. the Penguins added the title of general manager of the Pens AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had this to say when he took on the additional responsibility.
“The things that I’ve learned from [Rutherford] is that you have to patient with players, you have to communicate well with your coaches, you have to be loyal and you have to be fair. I’ve learned a lot from Ray [Shero], too.”
Guerin was also an assistant for the Americans at the 2017 World Hockey Championships.
I think it’s fair to say that Guerin would be among the most qualified candidates who don’t already have NHL general manager experience. He has been part of building two Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh.
Once source I chatted with described Guerin as well respected in the hockey world and suggested that he would be a strong hire for the Oilers.
WHAT SAY YOU?
How would Oilers fans react to another former Oiler being brought back to the organization?
It basically would go one of two ways. If he doesn’t work out the organization would be blamed for bringing another former player back into the fold. If it does work people will be quick to point that he was properly developed within the Penguins front office and the hire was clearly the right way to go. You’ll have to pick a side!
I did quickly throw the question out on twitter and these were a few of the responses.
Guess he isn’t truly an old boy… I’ll take it if he gets free reign to destroy the front office…
— IndignantBeaver (@IndignantBeaver) January 26, 2019
If Lowe, Howson, MacTavish, and Green are gone then I would be happy to give him the benefit of the doubt.
If they are still there….. F*** No!
— Lucas Stone (@sarcasticmarmot) January 26, 2019
— Gord Balsiger (@balsiger4) January 26, 2019
Not “that” old boys club but still bringing back a former Oiler either way
— Todd Van Berkel (@toadvb) January 26, 2019
He’s paid his dues with a Stanley Cup Champion. Why not?
— Dan Ewacha (@danoilersaddict) January 26, 2019
If someone can do the job I don’t care if they have played here before or not. But l hope they interview more than one candidate and get it right. If Billy G is the best guy than hire him.
— There must be Something in the Water (@mikedirsa) January 26, 2019
And by far my favourite answer to the question.
I think a monkey with Tourette’s would be better then what we had. So sure, why now.
— Michael Pelley (@m_pelley) January 26, 2019
And then there was this.
I remember as a 12 year old kid, looking through the white pages, under all the Guerins and phoning them all. Finally got someone answering to Bill. Said I was a huge fan. He said he’d meet my family for ice cream at a DQ. Waited there for 2hours. It was the ultimate troll job.
— Deryk MacDonald (@d_mac_87) January 26, 2019
WOULD HE COME?
I’m not so sure he would jump at the opportunity. For years it looked like Jason Botterill was being groomed by the Penguins to eventually take over but he left for Buffalo. Next in line would have to be Guerin. If Guerin is the succession plan in Pittsburgh why would he leave one of the best organizations in the league to come to the Oilers? Rutherford will be 70-years old in February, how much longer can he have?
Guerin is an east coast guy who’s on his way to running an east coach team. While I think he should definitely be on the list of people Nicholson would like to talk too I just don’t see him as the next GM of the Oilers.
With that being said, as I mentioned above, he does have my full support because I’ll never turn down a Billy Guerin Special.
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