Pittsburgh Penguins Name Bill Guerin Player Development Coach

James ConleyContributor IIIJune 9, 2011

Guerin retired as a member of the club last December. He'll next join Ray Shero's staff as a player development coach.
Guerin retired as a member of the club last December. He'll next join Ray Shero's staff as a player development coach.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Bill Guerin spent less than two full seasons in a Penguins uniform, but it seems both he and the team are happy to keep him in the Pittsburgh family during the front-office phase of his NHL career.

The Penguins announced Wednesday that Guerin has been hired as a Player Development Coach. According to the report, Guerin will work with Penguins prospects at all levels, from the American Hockey League to Juniors and even collegiate players.

“I’m thrilled about it,” Guerin said via PittsburghPenguins.com. “I wanted to stay in this organization. It’s nice to officially get it done and be a part of the Penguins again."

"I like the people that are here. I like the way things are done here."

The former Pens winger reportedly spent the 2010-11 season working with Tom Fitzgerald and Jason Botterill, two of General Manager Ray Shero's right-hand men. Guerin retired officially as a Penguin last December, barely missing out on making the Philadelphia Flyers roster out of training camp after the Penguins informed him last summer that he would not be retained.

Pittsburgh now appears to have locked up Guerin's services once again.

Those Penguins youngsters who will now work with Guerin will be receiving their lessons from one of the best American-born hockey players of all time. Guerin recorded 856 points (429 goals, 427 assists) through parts of 18 seasons with eight clubs.

Guerin also won two Stanley Cups, one in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils and again in 2009 in his first season with the Penguins.

His role as a mentor isn't without precedent. There have been whispers from those in the know that Guerin played an instrumental role in helping Sidney Crosby develop as a player and as the Penguins' captain.

Since Guerin's acquisition at the 2009 trade deadline, no player in hockey has a higher goals per game average than Crosby, an emergence that began in the 2009 postseason. Crosby finished those playoffs with a postseason-best 15 goals and Bill Guerin on his right wing.

Pittsburgh also secured a number of critical pieces of its coaching staff on Tuesday, resigning assistant coaches Tony Granato and Todd Reirden, goaltending coach Gilles Meloche and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Each has received a multi-year contract.

Earlier this season, the team signed head coach Dan Bylsma to a multi-year contract.

Granato is in charge of a penalty killing unit that finished first in the NHL last season (86.1 percent), the first time in franchise history the Penguins led the league in penalty kill success. Reirden has worked closely with Byslma since before their time on the Penguins, and Meloche has helped Marc-Andre Fleury to develop into one of the league's premier goaltenders.

The team also announced that WBS Head Coach John Hynes and assistant coach and former Penguin Alain Nasreddine have been signed to multi-year deals after the Baby Penguins led the AHL in wins and points for the first time in franchise history, in what was Hynes' first season behind the bench.

Pittsburgh is now set to turn its attention to its sizable free agent contingent, of which only RW Nick Johnson has been signed so far.