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:

    • goodtobelucky97

      The way this Oiler org has worked is;
      1. You need to get hired as head coach of the Oilers and then fired to become GM of the Oilers.
      2. Then if Mr. Guerin has asperations of becoming a VP of the Oilers, just get fired as GM.
      So with all of the above being said, I would agree with your statement Oldoilerfan.

  • Serious Gord


    No more alumni or FOK or FOG until this org wins a cup. How about that?

    The next GM + POHO – which may be two hires – not one – should be:

    1. Someone with zero connections with the org.

    2. Have complete say over all positions in hockey ops. Katz should be warned that that could mean the end of the line for most of the old boys.

    Brian Burke on primetime Thursday recommended also getting rid of old boys who were in non-hockey ops as they still meddle informally in hockey decisions. He specifically cited Kevin Lowe. I agree 100% with that assessment. He also cited the example of the struggles Hextall had in philly with the old boys and the owner meddling in what he was trying to do. Not surprising I guess that both orgs have been laughing stocks these past ten years…

  • 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.

  • 18% body fat

    NO! He was a powerforward, In todays NHL skill triumph over size, he will have a bias. When Yazerman was playing in detroit, he recognized skill in Federov and Lidstrom long before they were stars and Stevey was a young player. This is the type of GM wee need. Maybe Yzerman isnt available, but we need some one who thinks fresh and is open to ideas. Not saying Guering isnt but there is definitely going to be some bias in his rear view mirror.

    • ed from edmonton

      What a load of crap. So you are saying people can only appreciate a skill that they themselves have and are blind t any other attributes. Please give your head a shake. Why has Jim Rutherford been so successful in Pitt? He was a career back up goalie on middling to poor teams. Doesn’t mean all he was interested in was getting a of back up goalies in Pitt.

      • 18% body fat

        Everyone has a bias to what they know and do. And youra rgument about a back up goalie is just ignorant. No ones style is a backup goalie? How good you are at your position is not that same as they style you play. I bet Rutherford had a bias to having bulit around goaltenders. Lets also remember he was gifted Crosby, malkin, an elite 3rd line center in staal.

      • Gravis82

        Baseball hires managers from other sectors who know how to manage risk and negotiate.

        Not someone without a graduate degree in business who’s only a few years into their first job lol

      • 18% body fat

        further to this, i dont know where you get blind from when I said biased, you can appreciate skill and still have a bias towards “heavy hockey”. Chia new connor was skilled yet he put a heavy team around him instead of a skilled one. He knew what he wanted to do and it was because of his bias.

  • KootenayDan

    Fans are fickle listen to what people are saying, none of the alumni have a direct say in hockey ops. They are not looking at any anyone who is not qualified or has ties to the boys who ran the club into the ground. MacT would have done a better job than Peter I believe but it is time to move on. From everything I have read Hunter or McCrimmon would be good candidates.

    • ed from edmonton

      Whether the OBC is the recent problem or not is open to debate, but not on this site. All that ails is due to guys like Lowe meddling where he shouldn’t be and MAcT and Howson just being bad at their jobs. No one can prove or disprove this assumption but for the most part it is taken as fact on this site. I think this sentiment or at least as much due to feeling the need to punish someone for 13 years of hell as anything else. In any event. who ever becomes the new GM should quickly get rid of Mact and Howson (Lowe can only be fired by Katz) as it will buy him some time.

  • 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.

  • Finnaggled

    is there any quantifiable reason you think guerin would do a good job, other than, he’s worked with the penguins for a long time….
    that is experience, sure, but not necessarily successful experience. He also has less.experience, and quantifiable success, than the other 2 names being thrown around in hunter and mcrimmon. Care to back up your argument at all?
    Also, I could be wrong but i highly doubt they give the team to the least experienced of all the candidates.

    • Randaman

      What do you suggest? Possibly a graph or flow chart to show positives and negatives and quantify the results so you get the best candidate? I don’t see Guerin coming west. Strong player for the Oilers. Let’s just remember him as that and not taint another name because of the negative OBC pressure.

    • Dustin Nielson

      McCrimmon has three years of NHL managerial experience. I’m not sure how he is more experienced at the NHL or more successful than Guerin for that matter. He may be a better candidate but I’m not sure what you are talking about above. I don’t know how much of an impact 20 years with the Wheatkings matters to the Oilers.

  • Rick Stroppel


    What difference does it make who the GM is, if all the people looking over his shoulder and directly meddling in his decisions (eg Koskinen) are the same?
    One huge problem is Bob Nicholson. He seems like a very smart and nice man but he is TOO NICE. He is like the elf “Buddy” in the movie “Elf” (“I like smiling…smiling is my favourite”). What is needed is a very aggressive and strong OUTSIDER who has the authority to say this to a whole bunch of people: “You were a great hockey player thirty years ago but you suck at what you are doing right now…so you’re fired…I mean really fired…I mean YOU NEED TO GO AWAY”.

    I went back to the transcript of Nicholson’s presser and I found something interesting. He used the word “playoffs” 4 or 5 times. He used the words “championships” or “Stanley Cup” zero times. I get it, you have to make the playoffs to win the championships. But if you listen closely, they have moved the goalposts. The OEG has given up on recreating the 1980’s Oilers. They want to recreate the 1990’s Oilers: a team the makes the playoffs 40% of the time, upsets a better team once in awhile in the playoffs, and maybe makes one fluke run to the SC finals. Is that good enough for Oilers fans? Is that good enough for McDavid and his agent Bobby Orr? I am not saying McDavid is asking for a trade now or in the near future…but at a certain point doubt creeps in.

    Consider the all-in bet the Oilers organization (not just Chiarelli, they told us that) just made on Koskinen. Right now his sv. pct. is .910, 25th amoung NHL goalies, GAA is 2.79, 28th in the league. Those figures are virtually identical (one more game played) to when he was signed. He MIGHT be good enough to get a team into the playoffs, ZERO chance you can win the SC (or get to the final) with a goalie like this. He is signed for three years. His last year will be the seventh year of McDavid’s NHL career.

    The Oilers organization is like the Trump Whitehouse: An echo chamber full of arrogant fools who are constantly dislocating their shoulders from patting themselves on the back. Debating the next GM hire is interesting. But unless the profound organizational rot and dysfunction are addressed, it won’t make any difference.

  • CalOil

    Edmonton Bloggers can be so lazy. Guerin is a 48 year old man with 4 years of management experience, what specifically are the skills you like. He had all the power in the negotiation with the 12 year for the sandwich and still could not close the deal.

    • Geomessier

      You raise a good point about the sandwich; I would have went the intelligent route versus playing dumb with the kid.

      Aka … next GM has to be flexible, but demonstrate FIRM short and long term plans. In other words, lets start using our 21 st Century brains versus whatever makes sense based on 80’s logic and the kool-aid color of the month.

      My hope with having Connor is Katz sets his sights higher.

      Competative is OKAY ….. with how much we have sucked the past 13 years “competitive” even looks GREAT on the surface.

      But why o why is Katz not doing all he can to set up a “LEGENDARY” team.

      How about “New Boyz Club 2.0”

      I understand the name sounds lame as can be. However, Oilers have a nice new shiny arena, an player (McDavid) that sometimes when watching is like looking into the sun. Amazing, just amazing.

      So why not aim for “Legendary” Mr. Katz?

      Ask everyone of those OBC & anyone who has a lick of influence in management the simple question.


      * anyone who is a deer in the headlights answering = severance & fire the dick with your BILLIONS of dollars AND GET PASSIONATE PEOPLE IN WHO WANT EDMONTON TO RISE TO THE TOP.’

      and please stay at this “top” for atleast 5 plus years for GOD SAKE!

      – thanks you and good morning

  • 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.