Free Agent Focus: Bill Guerin

 
Part of an ongoing series that looks at potential free agents on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
 
Bill Guerin
Right Wing
 
Penguin since: 2009
Cap Hit [Cap Geek]: $2 Million/season
 
2009-2010 Stats [NHL.com]:
 

"Billy wants to play… I think Billy is like a Mark Recchi. They're very competitive guys. We just have to sort things out and see what the fit is."

 
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Bill Guerin has spent most of his Penguins career on Sidney Crosby's wing and, though he hasn't been the elusive scoring winger everyone has talked about for five years, he's done a good job in that position.  Guerin scored 21 goals last season.  He also brings veteran leadership to the team, a unique sense of humor and a strong work ethic.

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He also turns 40 in November.

Clearly he is not a long term solution for Pittsburgh, but that may be a good thing.  Wherever he signs this summer, Bill Guerin will likely take a one year contact and he likely won't ask for all that much money.  Those two factors could make him appealing to Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The real question is: How much will he be able to contribute next season?  No matter how talented or physically fit someone is, athletic talent decreases with age.  During the playoffs Guerin was often moved off of Crosby's line in favor of Pascal Dupuis.  At 40 years of age, can he continue to hang with Sid?  Will he be able to record another 20 goal season or will Father Time catch up with him?

Bill Guerin wants to play next year.  The Pittsburgh Penguins seem to want him back.  Obviously his salary will play a big part in the negotiations.  $2 million for a first line right winger is a decent price.  $2 million for a 40 year old that bounces around the line up doesn't make sense on a team that needs to spend every dollar of cap space efficiently.

In 2008-2009, Bill Guerin made $4.5 million.  In 2009-2010 he made $2 million.  Will he take another pay cut to stay with the Penguins?  He may wish to remain in Pittsburgh rather than move, but at what price?

Next time: Jordan Leopold

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