It was going to happen, sooner or later. Some team was going to name Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant GM Bill Guerin to their vacant GM post. Just nine years after beginning the front office climb from a retired player with a sharp wit, to Director of Player Development, then Assistant General Manager, Guerin was named the fourth GM in Minnesota Wild history, Wednesday.
He succeeds Paul Fenton whose turbulent reign lasted just one season.
Guerin was one of the first candidates to interview and the first to get a second meeting. He also interviewed for the Wild GM job last summer but eventually lost to Fenton. This summer, Minnesota owner Craig Leopold moved quickly to snag Guerin.
“Bill has been a winner throughout his hockey career, and I am extremely pleased to be able to add his experience to our organization,” Leopold said via press release.
Former Flyers GM Ron Hextall was also interviewed and thought to be a strong contender. Current Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell also interviewed while he worked without a contract in Carolina. That situation was quickly remedied by Carolina owner Tom Dundon, and Wadell was awarded a three-year deal in Carolina shortly after interviewing.
Guerin, 48, spent eight seasons in Penguins management. His first three years were as Director of Player Development. Then he spent five years as the AGM. PHN advocated Guerin for the job not long after it became open. You can read our original piece here.
Guerin is a noted talent evaluator. His eye for talent has helped the Penguins find several undrafted free agents who have since played in the NHL including Conor Sheary, Carter Rowney, Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Johnson, and current Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith.
The Penguins have also developed several players from their AHL farm club for which Guerin serves as GM including Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, Dominik Simon and Teddy Blueger.
Minnesota and the Penguins did attempt a trade back in June as the Penguins attempted to send Phil Kessel to Minnesota in exchange for Jason Zucker, however Kessel vetoed the deal.
Guerin declined to interview for the open Carolina GM position last spring. Guerin has four Stanley Cup rings, including three with the Penguins; one as a player in 2009 and two as the AGM in 2016 and 2017.
The Penguins have not immediately announced a replacement.