The Pittsburgh Penguins’ core players were wrapped up in different deals years ago. Now it seems like the team is taking measures to keep their coaching staff together, so why not add an old friend who can bridge the gap between players and front office as well?
Just two years after being a part of the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup-winning squad, Bill Guerin was named Pittsburgh’s player development coach today. The team explains that Guerin will work with prospects throughout the Penguins’ organization, including minor league, junior-level and college hockey players.
This follows the team’s decision to hand multi-year contract extensions to much of their coaching staff. The Penguins gave extensions to assistant coaches Tony Granato, Todd Reirden and Gilles Meloche as well as conditioning coach Mike Kadar. They also wrapped up Wilkes-Barre Scranton head coach John Hynes and Alain Nasreddine, his assistant coach.
Perhaps most importantly, the team also signed GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma to contract extensions in recent times. When you consider the fact that they have their essential young forwards, defensemen and franchise goalie wrapped up for the near-future, the Penguins simply need to focus on getting healthy and playing their best hockey rather than worrying about sweeping changes from year to year.
Few franchises enjoy the kind of stability the Penguins are putting themselves in position to enjoy. Beyond more obvious questions about the health of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the biggest issue might just be motivation. Will key figures go stagnant with the security that comes with long-term extensions?
With those injury issues and big chunk of role players at the forward position primed for free agency this summer, the Penguins should be interesting to watch in July and 2011-12. If nothing else, they can be confident about having a stable front office in place to try to make decisions that are in the franchise’s best interest.