Photo Credit: NHL.com

Fits the Bill?

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?


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.

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I can see it now, the Bobby Nicks burger replaced by the Billy Guerin Special.


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.

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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.

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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.

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And by far my favourite answer to the question.

And then there was this.


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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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Towers-of-dub

    You need to find a GM with the right credentials and connections to work with the other GMs so he can get the Oilers out of this mess. What are the chances that Bill Guerin has the right connections and respect around the NHL that he can unload some of Edmontons bad contracts. That’s the main thing for me right now. We need someone who can unload the dead weight but avoid a complete rebuild. If our man Billy Gun can do it, no problem at all. He was a good Oiler, and always had respect for the organization and more so understood his responsibility to the supporters here.

    • Axe

      I agree.. I think the oilers will need all the goodwill and connections they have to help offload some of the really bad contracts we have.. Might need an assist from Bettman (yes that’s how desperate the oilers have made me when I think of Bettman as possible help) Esp if sekera health situation doesn’t work out (similar to Lupul situation with Toronto)

  • Oiler Al

    Bettman endorses Katz and his muppet Burger Bob,during his nation address at the all star game.Thinks they will figure it out.[they havnt for 10 years]

    I would not have the confidence of a new GM , if he was to accept the job with the current structure! A smart guy would not want to come to the position, with all the clowns and Winos hanging around.

    At the very very least ,MacT, Green, and Howson must be purged.Wayne and Kevin are wall hangings only. Katz will never let that go.

    PS: by yhe way this is all on Katz…he also hired the snakeoil salesman, who turned to hamburger.

      • Serious Gord

        Bettman is excellent- probably the best prez in league history. For Katz it’s the product on the ice and the in building amenities and off-ice entertainment that he should be evaluated on and on all three areas he is among the worst in the league.

  • Mc.Rib

    TheGreatWW over at FN is now sending trolls to our site simply to cause trouble and be annoying, making us feel already worse than we we should. He is also getting email addresses somehow, (he is admitting this) and sending messages, like the one I recently received from him. The mods really need to look into this!!

    • Kool-Aid Man

      WW is sending trolls? What is he the FN troll master? If trolls are coming here in scores, it’s not because of him. Trolls need dopamine to feel good about their poor, pathetic lives.

      Perhaps WW encourages them but, even FN writer (skylardog) enjoys a good trolling.

  • RJ

    Here’s an out of the box hire: Ralph Krueger. He’s familiar with the city, he’s been a manager (not in hockey), and there’s no way he’d be swayed by KLowe and MacT.

    As his hiring bonus they could let him fire MacT and LLowe through Skype.

  • Total Points

    Burger Bob should also be let go. Hire a new President of Hockey Operations and go from there. We need a tandem like Toronto, respected former player like Shanny and a new blood young GM.

    How about Shane Doan, Dale Hawerchuck, Garry Roberts, etc as President of Hockey Operations or someone like them, not a former Oiler.

  • Nicholson’ s only experience is working with Hockey Canada?That is a job any knowledgeable hockey fan could be successful at.What bothered me the most recently is the interview with MacT after the Kings game “ I only caught 3rd period and didn’t look too bad.

  • kelvjn

    Bill Guerin would actually be a very good choice to work with the old boys club.

    He came across as the guy who takes no bs from anyone on and off the ice. Back in the days he was among the leaders in the room and probably won’t be hesitant to tell Lowe and MacT where to shove it if needed be.

    Because of that, there is next to no chance of him being considered for the job.

      • kelvjn

        As a premier player in the late pre-cap era, Guerin made over 30milion already. He didn’t stay on because he need to win bread for the table.

        He also had knew a thing or two about winning, with two each of player’s ring and staff’s ring.

        There is a lot less incentive for him to put up with any puppeteering, comparing to any up and commer or even veteran career managers.

  • Rhettzky

    Hey random question, but what happened to Ethan Bear being an oilers prospect? Looked good last year I thought, but haven’t even heard his name this year?

    • Spydyr

      Bear suffered an injury early into the season and has regressed somewhat.

      Young players do not progress in a straight line. Hopefully he can bounce back the rest of this season and then start next season on a positive note.

      • CityofWhat

        Bear is coming around with 6 points in his last 3 or 4 games, 2 goals both goal scorers goal ( bar down). The early injury slowed his progress down but he is turning it around.

  • OilTastic

    while Guerin is a former Oiler, he’s not a member of the old boys club because he didn’t play in the 80’s on the cup teams. i’d like to think that experience would play a part for the next Oilers GM and not what uniform he wore, but jeez it does make you wonder if upper management has learned anything? are former Oiler players the only ones upper management ever think of bringing into the organization?

  • Copper

    Years ago, I was told by a member of the EIG that Guerin was traded by Lowe because “he quit on the Oilers” and could never be forgiven. Wonder if time heals.

  • TKB2677

    What I worry about is many Oilers fans are just so negative and just so full of distrust and HATE that they won’t accept anyone with any kind of ties to the team no matter how small. If by chance the new GM happens to be a 3rd cousin to Messier, they will tear it apart.

    From my perspective, I just want the most qualified man for the job no matter who that is. For optics, it would be nice if there was no ties to the team but in saying that, I don’t really care. Just get the best guy. If the best guy happened to play for the Oilers for a brief time, 20 yrs ago, I don’t care.