Guerin Still Unsigned
At nearly 40 years old, Bill Guerin still believes he has enough left in the tank to help an NHL team compete for the Stanley Cup.
And, really, why shouldn’t he?
As a 39-year-old, Guerin scored 45 points, including 21 goals, while logging an average of 17:31 of ice time per game for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
So why does he remain a free agent?
It could be a fear that Guerin’s 45 point came more as a passenger on Sidney Crosby’s wing than on his own merit.
It could be that he has lost a step or two, limiting his ability to create or finish on the fly.
It could be his minus-nine rating, which indicates a lack of commitment or a lack of ability to contribute defensively.
Or it could be a combination of these three or other factors.
The fact of the matter is, Guerin is seeking a $2 million contract, which is an amount that could be difficult to swallow for a team to spend on one of the league’s oldest players.
But as free agency winds down and training camps creep closer, Guerin, along with other notable free agents, such as Paul Kariya, Maxim Afinogenov, and Marty Turco, among others, may have to lower his demands if he hopes to keep playing the game he loves.
In mid-July, Penguins general manager Ray Shero kicked the tires on veteran center Rob Niedermayer, who eventually signed with the Buffalo Sabres.
Shero’s activity proved he remained in the market for at least one additional forward.
And Guerin just might be that player.
“We’re just looking around to see if anybody fits, and we’re keeping Billy Guerin in mind as well,” Shero said to Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette on July 8.
More recently, Shero mentioned during a post- Winter Classic press conference interview that he continues to chat with Guerin’s agent every 10 days or so.
The longer free agency lasts, the more likely a Guerin return seems.
The Penguins, who have an estimated $2,966,666 in cap space, can’t afford to give Guerin the $2 million he seeks.
But should his asking price drop to, say, $1 million, he would be a nice player to have back.
Of course, such a signing should be made with Guerin having full knowledge that his ice time, including time on the power play, will decrease and that rookies, such as Eric Tangradi and Nick Johnson, will be knocking on the door to bump him down the depth chart.
I’d be fine with those terms, and Guerin should be too.