After 18 seasons in the NHL, sniper and goal scorer extraordinaire Bill Guerin is retiring from the NHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Guerin’s intentions in a news release this morning. Over Guerin’s 18 seasons, he scored 429 goals and racked up 427 assists over a career spent with eight different teams. Guerin was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 1989 NHL Draft as the fifth overall selection out of Boston College. Guerin was a member of the 1995 Devils team that won the Stanley Cup over Detroit. Guerin would again haunt the Red Wings in 2009 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Cup in seven games.
It’s fitting to have Guerin retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin as that’s where he played his final two seasons and had his last bit of team success. Guerin did have a tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers during the preseason but did not make the cut as his skating speed isn’t what it used to be. The Penguins certainly aren’t holding it against him for trying to latch on with the Flyers. As for retirement, Guerin had this to say about finally hanging it up in Steel City.
“We were only here a short time but my family and I developed such a deep connection to the city, the team and the fans,” Guerin said. “It was amazing. From ownership and Ray Shero to the coaching staff and trainers, from my teammates to the arena workers to the people in the stands, they all treated us in such a first-class manner. It was an extremely positive experience. We all agree that retiring as a Pittsburgh Penguin is the perfect thing to do.”
The Penguins will honor Guerin before the start of tonight’s game against the Devils, a thoughtful nod to him to do it in front of the team that drafted him.
Guerin finishes his career sixth all time amongst American NHLers in goal scoring with 429 goals. If you’re curious how far behind fifth place he was, playing two or three more years at best may have gotten him to catch up to Pat LaFontaine at 468. For Guerin, it’s the end of a great career as a key contributor to many teams and serving as the captain of at least one of them (Islanders).
Coming up as a brash and even temperamental scorer in New Jersey and Boston and eventually mellowing out as a key veteran cog on Long Island and in Pittsburgh was key for Guerin to land on a Cup-winning team in Pittsburgh. Closing out his career the way he did scoring 21 goals and 24 assists last year is pretty impressive in its own right. Being the veteran presence in a very young Pittsburgh locker room that needed guidance will be the legacy many fans, new and old alike, will remember.