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.


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.
  • The charger is Awesome! Pure hell on wheels!

    I’d give him a shot and bring in Mac T as the fist assistant.

    Also ask Wilson from Flames nation now that the seasons in the crapper, what exactly are the Flames suppose to do now? there in trouble!

    Loubardias has good insight to those western kids, curious to see how he feels about Ryan Murray?

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Perry Pearn anyone?

    I actually think that unless he’s lost the room, you have to give Renney the chance to see what he can do in a better situation. By the looks of how the team is playing down this meaningless stretch, I would have to say that they kids are still playing for him (even after his ‘millionaires’ statement).

  • striatic

    based off what we’ve seen, i wouldn’t sign Renney.

    thing is, i haven’t seen much, and i think you need to be pretty close to an organization to get an understanding of how well a coach is doing.

    so while i’d prefer to see someone new come in, i don’t mind a one year extension.

    anything more than one year is at least one year too much though. which knowing the Oilers probably means Renney gets a 2 year extension.

  • Lexi

    There are infinite things about Oiler management that concern me, but I have to give them props for hiring Nelson (and Thompson and Fleming). They all project to be at minimum NHL assistants. Nelson comes off really well anytime I hear him on the radio and the OKC results are impressive. His experience in Atlanta actually doesn’t come off too bad in retrospect, considering he was there in year Kovalchuk was traded. Thompson is a guy I remember seeing play with Swift Current, and I know a few people who know him, and they all say no one worked harder than him, and no one got more out of their ability than him.

    I am going to be following OKC’s playoff run closely and if they do well, he will be my favorite for next year’s coach. To me the biggest issue with him is how comfortable will he be with the young superstars and will he have Smyth & Horcoff’s respect so he can limit them to 15 minutes a night. I would hope he would hire a respected veteran assistant like Craig Ramsey/Don Lever/Perry Pearn.

    It was interesting on Sportsnet yesterday, McSorley (who I actually find to be a pretty good commentator) said he thinks Crawford is a horrible coach who lucked into two situations and was horrible in his last two gigs. The only former coach out there right now that I find intriguing is Paul Maurice, though if Quenville was available I would look at him

  • striatic

    If we do decide to go in another direction behind the bench, then I hope that we choose the best candidate rather than the biggest names. No Marc Crawfords or Craig Mctavishs please.

    The difficult thing with Renney is that while I would ideally like him back on a 1 year extension, that would make him a lame duck coach. Sometimes it’s hard to coach under those circumstances and if the team struggles, then it can gain a life of it’s own.

  • striatic

    Its not Renney’s fault with this team. Sure he made some crazy decisions in shootouts, and line combo’s. He’s being scapegoated when its Lowe and Tambo that need to go.

  • Lexi

    I don’t think Renney would get 1 year extension, its bad business it looks like you don’t believe in the coach and it almost sets him up for failure especially with a young developing team. Oilers will give him a 2 because even if they can him after 1 Katz has no problem paying for the extra year.

  • Spydyr

    First the team has to make a decision on GM. The trial balloon went up months ago on Tambo’s extension.The balloon did not go over so well.

    Either you keep Tambo or a new GM comes.Then you make the decision on the coach.A new GM will want his own coach.

    Go young no has beens or retreads and please ,please no more ex-oilers.

  • toprightcorner

    Nelson is doing great for OKC developing the young players. It would be stupid to move him up to the big club as the young guys on the farm still need a coach exactly like Nelson. I believe he is the key to the long term success of the Oil. We know what happens with a poor farm team or no farm team at all.

    We finally have a great AHL team/program so if we mess with that, we would be taking a big step backwards.

    I would give Renney another year or if they plan to hire a new coach to take the next step, I would like to see Renney as the associate coach, a position he is more suited for and he is a good link to the young guys he already has a relationship with.

  • this team is all about the kids, so for me the list of next coach should include.

    Bill Peters from the wings or

    Bob Boughner…. for obvious reasons

    Perry Pearn is a superb coach for such things as special teams, heck of a PK guy… lights out good when he and Renney were with the rangers but Im not sure about the head guy.

    Im not sold on Nelson but he has done a good job, especially last year when half his team was up with the OIl pretending to belong in the show.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I disagree completely. I think he should add about 6 inches of mullet, get some gold bling for around his neck, and he would look like he’s from Sunneyville trailer park, and that would pure awesome.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    An usher from rexall could’ve distributed the minutes to those players and realized the same progress.

    I’d love to see Tambellini bring in Nelson and watch him pilot this club to yet another lottery finish. After Katz finally cleans house in management and coaching, bring in Doug Wieght and Charlie Huddy as co-coaches. As David mentioned, send Nelson back to the River Cree.

  • Oilers4ever

    A month ago this was a no brainer to me and I actually had remarked that Nelson should be the guy next year… HOWEVER… when Renney lost his cool 10 or so days back, the team has responded well and is playing very well, without Taylor Hall. Had the team continued to flounder and the players not responded then I would clearly agree a change is needed. But if the players have responded and if the kids are saying they like Renney then I say give him one more year. If the team plays well next year and gets themselves to the playoffs then he deserves a longer extension. This organization needs some stability and if we have a coach that the younger players like then I am all for it. Nelson should be groomed to be the next guy (especially if the team does poorly next year again).

    I still think it’s Tambo that needs to go as we have a GM with not guts when it comes to taking chances via trade to improve the team. Should we get a new GM this summer then I can’t see Renney returning. GM’s usually like to appoint their own guy…

  • Oilers4ever

    Seriously no coach ever signs just a one year deal. Renney should get a two year extension, and hire Perry Pearn to replace Ralph Krueger, who is likely going back to Switzerland after this year.

    I seriously doubt Nelson is ready to make the jump to the bigs just yet, and then they’re back to trying to find someone to step in on the farm and pick up where he left off.

    Besides I don’t think I could stand hearing Nelson say “like” every fifth word of every interview he would have to give.