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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?

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.

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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.

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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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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.

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And by far my favourite answer to the question.

And then there was this.

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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Previously by Dustin Nielson:


  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • KootenayDan

    The next GM hiring cannot be influenced by what the fans want. There is so much disdain for the OBC it has negatively skewed the process. Mark Hunters brother played for the Oilers better not hire him either lol. If Bill Guerin is qualified then so be it. Penguins are not exactly blowing it out of the water this year either. What I read and hear about McCrimmon and Hunter would say they are two excellent candidates.

  • Serious Gord

    STOP. JUST STOP.

    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…

  • goodtobelucky97

    Guerin is an interesting candidate. I’m sure as Assistant GM his job wasn’t just to make sure the GM’s coffee was topped up. At onetime the Pen’s were in a cap crunch and they still won a cup. Not sure if he was a part of trying to find players on low paying contracts that could contribute but if he was, this could up his value for the Oilers.
    However, no matter who the new GM is, I hope they will ask for there own staff. People they trust and know can help this team be more competitive on a consistent basis. Ask for the Katz private jet so, during the regular season, the VP of Hockey OP’s, VP of Player Dev and VP of Player Personnel can be any where in the world except Edmonton.
    Basically, no changes up top and no changes with scouting staff a new GM won’t make much of a difference…..no matter who they are.

  • The future never comes

    Yeah, um with the little to no assets and little to no cap room, I think we need an experienced GM with great connections league wide. Not someone learning on the job. Pass.

    • OldOilFan

      Agreed, this is not the time/team/city/job for a rookie GM.

      I don’t think the candidate has to be a former player, either. Just someone with a keen mind who is already up to speed on how “general-managing” works in the NHL.

      Much depends on whether or not the task is for a “full rebuild” (supply your own definition for that, I guess).

    • ed from edmonton

      Experienced GMs are in short supply. Hextall, Nonis, Lomdardi, Feaster (wouldn’t that be a shocker). I probably missed a couple but its a pretty short list.

    • That’s what we said when we hired Chiapete. I’ll pass on guys like Lombardi and Holland, they’ve shown they can’t catch up on the times either. Imo it should be McCrimmon/Hunter(experience in juniors and NHL) as GM and an experienced guy as POHO.

    • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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

        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.

      • 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.

  • Oilerz4life

    Yes! Hire Guerin. The OBC needs to meet the annual quota, and get a little worse every year. Nothing like a little more bureaucracy up top to clog the machine a little more. More blind guides to fumble around and wonder what went wrong with the culture.

  • Rick Stroppel

    THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE GM, IT IS ALL THE PEOPLE ABOVE THE GM

    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.

  • ed from edmonton

    Perhaps the 2 most consistently good teams in the NHL over the last 15 years or so have been Nashville and San Jose. Nashville have been consistently good while being a budget team. Who are the assistant GMs in these places? Wouldn’t they be at the top of the list?

    • Nellzo

      Nashville develops through the draft and augments through trades and free agency. It’s been their process since their inception and they have been mostly successful with it. San Jose is a very desirable destination and has been at or near the top of a lot of acceptable trade and free agent lists. This, on top of a decent developmental system has led to their success. My understanding is that both ownership groups are hands off.
      In contrast Edmonton has changed course with respect to their modus operandi a number of times. The farm system was a mess, (or non existent). Free agents and trades involving their young NHLers and draft picks were their priority and happened far too often since 2006. Often to the detriment of the team. Chia/K. Gretzky have helped restock the system to some degree but they focused on free agency far too often, (signing average players to fat contracts), and pushing young players in too fast. Nothing has realy changed since the Tambellini days other than being fortunate enough to draft 97 & 29. The issues are systemic. They need a systematic dismantling and rebuild of their front office staff. Bring in people that understand the balance, commitment and patience it requires.

  • hagar

    Judging by the way bill was trolling that kid in the vid, i would bet the iced cream bit in the tweat was him. Lol
    Man i laughed about that guy getting stood up. Classic

    • hagar

      Oh, as for Bill as gm, i would immagine he wouldnt want to come here before even getting his gm career going.
      It will probably be someone with no options left that would rather take the money and be the pawn, than a guy trying to build a career.

  • Axe

    I won’t hold the fact that Guerin is an ex oiler against him (although I am sure some will) in fact it could be an asset but to me there is three important criteria the incoming GM has to be able to satisfy :
    1. Has to be able to stand up to interference and meddling of lingering voices in the organization aka OBC.. If we are being fair to Chiarelli the Reinhart trade was probably the idea of Mac T or and or Lowe etc.. And that move turned out to be a disaster beyond belief… So yeah if they come at the new GM with this dumb proposals has to be able to tell them to get lost.
    2.Has to inspire confidence in the players, coaches, fans and media.. There is way too much negativity around the team (whether justified or not). If this negativity continues its gonna become a super toxic environment and it’s gonna be hard to maintain and attract talent.. (we can already see some of the not so innocent questions coming mcdavid’s way about whether he wants to leave
    3. Has to have the ability to make bad contracts dissapear (I know it sounds like I am asking for a magician but we may need one to undo PC’s horrible work). Similar to what happened in Toronto we have to find a way to get rid of Lucic, sekera, Spooner, manning etc…
    I don’t know enough about Guerin to judge whether he has these qualities but I sure hope whoever comes in does..

  • 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.

      WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAKE THIS TEAM LEGENDARY?

      * 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

  • CMG30

    I really don’t know. He comes out of a winning organization so that’s good. If he shares the same ‘values’ or ‘culture’ that makes the OBC want to hire him then that’s bad.

    The trouble we’re at now is that the folks doing the hiring don’t actually know as much as they believe they do. Frankly, whoever they pass over was probably the right guy.

  • Randaman

    It seems to me that the negativity surrounding the Oilers OBC has fans not believing that any new GM (qualified or not) will be nothing more than a puppet for all of Katz’s boy toys. About right? Pretty toxic environment to come to. I would think that any qualified candidate knows all this! Good luck Bob

  • Gravis82

    Sure he’s technically qualified. But how many technically qualified people out there with 8 years experience into their ENTIRE working career are we not taking about because they have no connection to the oilers. Probably 100.

    Stop with this nonsense

    You are leading an organization, assessing markets, managing risk, collecting and processing information, negotiating, and out thinking career strategists.

    You can’t do that on the 8the year of the job.

    A huge NO

  • Smuckers

    I’d be open to Guerin being the next GM, but I do worry he’d feel some loyalty to MacT and Lowe which means Howson and Green would also be kept on. However, if he is given the green light to turf them then we’d be seeing some actual change.

    I am dumbfounded that MacT and Howson have not clued in to the fact that they have been part of the problem here for so long. Surely it’s crossed their tiny little minds that they have been a disaster for this organization and it’s fans. If they had any pride, they’d simply resign and spare everyone any further pain and embarrassment. Bob Green should just be given a one-way ticket to Siberia for the whole Reinhart thing and Lowe should just retire – He’s done enough damage. Surely they know the fans do not want them around anymore??!!

    • fasteddy

      Personally I am not down on MacT or even KLowe…Green & Howson no idea. But what is bothersome is that all of these guys have been around in some capacity while very questionable decisions have been made. Unless it comes out that one or more have been vehemently against a lot of these moves then they all need to go. If you can’t stand up in the board room and say “wait a minute; why would we buy this guy out now when we don’t have cap problems so we have a penalty the next two years when we likely will have cap issues?”….then shouldn’t be in the group at all.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    I would have him on the short list. I don’t believe he has strong ties to the OBC. Guerin is his own man and must be. The Penguins winning has to have rubbed off on him. As for him or anyone for that matter not want to come here. Well having a chance to build around the best player in the world should entice anyone. Having Leon and Nuge does not hurt. Kelfbom and Nurse may be the only D I would not trade [ on the Big Club anyway] Jones is another , Larsson as much as I like him is really expendable and could fetch a decent piece in a trade. He has game and everyone knows it but we need a bit of offence and mobility on the back end.

    Personally , I would take Mark Hunter or Mcrimmon if of course they want the Job. I would say Hunter would , he has balls , can evaluate talent and is no ones puppet and that’s what we need.

    • Hemi

      Just like many fans of the Oil, I have been listening to all the various inputs by one and all on the vacant position. So far, I am leaning Hunter. But then again, on the outside looking in……..

  • Total Points

    The key is to get rid of the old boys club first. After that the Oilers will be able to hire a qualified GM. If the OBC stay around it will not matter who they hire.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I did find it strange when Nicholson said Chiarelli had full reign over hockey operations, yet when asked about the Koskinen signing, he said they made the decision as a group??

    Well what is it? A group or one guy?
    Seemed like they are pinning all the problems on Chiarelli, when clearly there was more than one voice in the room dictating what was going on. Basically admitted in front of the hockey world that “they” (OBC) do have direct ties to personnel decisions. Smells fishy.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      It’s not fishy, you aren’t paying attention. It’s called a PR dilemma: 1) say it was Pete’s deal which throws the player, the contract, AND the upper mgt under the bus (captain obvious reporter would ask: “why did PC have full reign one day and get fired the next and was the Koskinen contract the last straw”? ); 2) say it was a group decision so it looks like Pete was on his way out and needed approval (Bob basically says: “we were aware of the situation and attended to it so more mistakes didn’t happen and we thought signing Mikko was a solid choice for the Oilers”). Which would you say if you were in charge?

  • Heschultzhescores

    The OBC is not going anywhere. These guys clearly feel their drinking, buddy, buddy, reliving old times relationship trumps winning. If they didn’t they clearly wouldn’t still be there. They have THE worst track record of any NHL team past or present. Their egos are too big to see themselves as the problem. If Katz wants to win, he needs to go apprentice on these guys. I love what you did 30 + years ago, but You’re FIRED!