Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant General Manager Bill Guerin has been named the Minnesota Wild’s new General Manager, replacing Paul Fenton who was fired in July after just 14 months on the job.
The Wild officially made the announcement this afternoon.
“I am thrilled to announce we have hired Bill Guerin, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, as General Manager of the Minnesota Wild.” — Craig Leipold
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 21, 2019
I am thrilled to announce we have hired Bill Guerin, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, as General Manager of the Minnesota Wild,” Owner Craig Leipold said in a released statement. “Bill has been a winner throughout his hockey career and I am extremely pleased to be able to add his experience to our organization and The State of Hockey.”
Guerin who had an illustrated NHL career that deserves more Hall-of-Fame consideration than he gets, joins the Wild after spending the last eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a front office executive, including the last five seasons as Assistant General Manager and serving as the General Manager of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the last two years.
GUERIN QUICKLY SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM THE PACK
When the interview process started, it was widely regarded to be Ron Hextall’s job to lose, but once Guerin got in front of Minnesota officials, Guerin quickly began to separate himself from the pack. The Wild’s brass fell in love with Guerin’s vision to run the organization and execute a short and long-term plan that was closely aligned with ownership’s vision. Guerin, according to a source, did a phenomenal job in selling himself through the interview process as an executive who will bring a blend of a Ray Shero and Jim Rutherford type style to the table in how he’ll run the organization in all facets, embracing new school and old school philosophies.
Guerin last week was the only candidate to be brought back for a second interview and over the past 4-5 days, the Penguins organization has been bracing for the Wild to hire Guerin and have a plan already in place on how to handle Guerin’s duties for the 2019-2020 season. With the Penguins organization having no succession plan in place for when Jim Rutherford eventually wants to step down, it was a no-brainer for Bill Guerin to take this job. Waiting around another year or so to see if Rutherford would step down or take another role to give Guerin the ‘GM’ title just wasn’t a realistic option as Pittsburgh’s front office structure doesn’t allow the type of situation that happened in Vegas where Kelly McCrimmon was promoted to General Manager and George McPhee has taken the title of Team President. That was something Guerin always knew wasn’t going to be possible with David Morehouse entrenched as Team President.
Health permitted, Rutherford is going to try to stay on as long as he can and ride out the Sidney Crosby era.
In the present, Guerin has his work cut out for him with high priced aging stars, a fractured room and a bottom-15 prospect system, but it’s still an intriguing job for a first-time General Manager in a great market where you’ll have an owner who will spend to the cap and who will embrace bold moves. And that’s going to be the plan no matter what is spun when Guerin is introduced this week.
If Minnesota wanted to prioritize a slow re-tool and build the prospect group back up, Ron Hextall would have been their man.
The buzz worthy situation that will be monitored closely from day 1 will be the relationship between Guerin and head coach Bruce Boudreau who Paul Fenton tried to fire several times last season but was blocked by ownership. For all of Bruce Boudreau’s playoff failings, Guerin inherits a very good coach from day 1.