This is Todd Nelson. He’s a candidate for the head coaching job in Edmonton with the Oilers. An impressive two year run in Oklahoma City and a familiarity with the team’s young depth players make him an attractive option.
Nelson was announced as the Oilers’ AHL coach a couple of weeks after Taylor Hall was drafted, and his job description involved taking young players with talent and rough edges and refining them into useful NHL pieces.
He’s done a very good job in two seasons.
- Finn Teemu Hartikainen had a solid AHL debut and despite an uneven campaign in 11-12 is showing well in a late season cup of coffee.
- Swede Linus Omark showed extremely well in a 10-11 audition before getting called to the NHL. Omark’s season was dashed by injury this year but the skill winger posted impressive numbers while with the Barons.
- American Jeff Petry flourished in the minors in both seasons and has now emerged as a top flight NHL defenseman.
- Phil Cornet took a big step forward in year two with a 23-goal (so far) campaign after getting limited minutes in his pro debut in 2010-11.
- Alex Plante blossomed under Nelson, playing in this year’s all-star game and playing steady, reliable hockey.
- OKC won 40 games in year one and then another 40 already this season on their way to a division title.
The year before Nelson’s arrival, Rob Daum guided the Springfield Falcons to 25-wins. That’s not really what being a minor league coach is about–development is the key item–and some of Daum’s players from 09-10 are on the Oiler roster (Dubnyk, Peckham).
But Nelson’s arrival, along with the dawn of the MBS drafting era, seems to represent a brand new day for the Oilers. Todd Nelson is going to get some consideration for the head coaching job in Edmonton should it shake loose, and he might just get the job.
His OKC resume is pristine.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I still think there’s a chance the Oilers sign Tom Renney to an extension, and even if they walk away odds are the club will seek a man with some NHL experience as the head coach. Still, Todd Nelson is worth considering.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Among the guests scheduled to appear:
- Jason Gregor host of the Jason Gregor Show on Team 1260 each weekday afternoon 2-6. We’ll discuss the Oilers and some of the things we might see over the summer, and touch base on the Oil Kings and what a winning hockey team means to this city.
- Kent Simpson, color commentator for the Edmonton Oil Kings. They won last night and had an amazing season. I’ll ask Kent how far they can go and we’ll discuss young Martin Gernat and his future.
- Cam Moon, Red Deer Rebels play by play man. We’ll talk about RNH’s terrific season and I’ll ask Cam about the latest phenom from the Rebels–Matt Dumba. He might be the first player taken from the dub, and we’ll get a scouting report and profile from Cam.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation. Calgary has had a tumultuous week and face a must-win situation this afternoon. We’ll set the stage with Kent off the top of the show.
- Peter Loubardias will help us set this year’s WHL playoffs and offer some insight into the WHL defensemen eligible for this year’s NHL entry draft. Murray, Dumba, Reinhart, Reilly–the list is long and impressive.
- Robert Cleave from Jets Nation. Robert is a clever and funny commentator on the Jets, Flames and others. We’ll talk about winning on the road versus domination at home and what kind of impact it has had on the Jets season.