In a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero briefly addressed the topic of Bill Guerin’s future with the Penguins.
Guerin is an unrestricted free agent who was making $2 million this season. He came to the Penguins at the 2009 trade deadline when he was brought over from the New York Islanders in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
When Guerin came to Pittsburgh, he played in 17 regular season games and had 12 points. In the playoffs, he participated in 24 games and came out with 15 points.
This season he put up 45 points in the regular season, but only nine points in the playoffs. He contributed to the team’s struggling power play unit with 11 power play goals this season; good enough for third on the team.
As July 1st looms, some fans wonder if Guerin should get another contract.
There are arguments for why he should be a Penguin again and why he should be cut loose.
Since coming over in 2009, Guerin has been one of the strongest contributors to the Penguins. Not only has he had the regular season points, he has also put up some solid numbers in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In this year’s playoffs, for example, he had a six-game point streak where he recorded eight points.
Guerin also has Stanley Cup experience, which is still an important component of this team. Prior to winning the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Penguins, he won the trophy when he was a member of the 1995 New Jersey Devils. You can never have too much veteran experience, especially on a team that is still developing, even though they have already won a Cup.
In a Penguins season mired with injuries, Guerin managed to play in 78 regular season games. He managed to stay healthy enough to get a good amount of playing time, and that is never a bad thing when a player is depended on to be a key contributor.
At the same time, there is the camp that does not think Guerin should get another contract.
Many fans felt Guerin had lost a spring in his step this year. They believed he looked slow and seemed to aimlessly float around the ice while not doing much of anything. Furthermore, they did not think his 45 points were good enough to merit the playing time that he got.
Another downside to Guerin is his age. He will be 40 years old in November. If he continues to play, can he still put up 20-goal seasons? Of course no one knows the answer to that question, but common sense says that a player’s production can deteriorate as he gets older.
However, Guerin has put up more than 40 points in each of his five last seasons of play. Sure he may be aging, but he still has the numbers, and any team would welcome that.
It also does not seem like Guerin is Shero’s highest priority for re-signing free agents. Right now, Sergei Gonchar and Matt Cooke are the two free agents that should get new contracts first, as long as they want them.
With Guerin not on that list, he could very well not be a Penguin next season.
Guerin has expressed that he wants to continue playing. If that is what he wants, and if Shero can sign him to the right contract, I don't see any reason why "Billy G" cannot be a Penguin once again.