REPORT: Chiarelli to Interview Todd Nelson for Head Coaching Position

It looks like Peter Chiarelli is doing his due diligence as reports circulate that Todd Nelson will be interviewed for the Head Coaching position at some point this weekend. I’m not going to lie, having all these “interviews” for positions within the Oilers organization seems so foreign to me. These are strange times, friends.

Regardless of what happens with the head coaching position, I feel for Todd Nelson. The guy came in as the interim head coach, did his best with what he had, knew that he may not stick as the full time guy, and is currently waiting to see how things shake out. That’s a tough way to go into the summer. Think about it: Nelson has to wait and see how things shake out before he can really plan the next few years of his life. On the bright side, that wait may be coming to end.

According to Darren Dreger, Todd Nelson will sit down with Peter Chiarelli to talk about the position, and likely his future with the organization. Per Dreger:

To me, it makes sense that Chiarelli would want to sit down with Nelson. Nelson was not hired by Peter Chiarelli, and the new GM likely doesn’t know all that much about him yet. Making matters more complicated is the fact that Todd Nelson still has time left on his contract. Does he really want to go back to coaching in the AHL? To me, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Nelson to ask for permission to find a job elsewhere if he doesn’t land a gig in the NHL coaching staff going into next season. Being passed over for the head coaching job twice in a row would be a big shot to anyone’s ego.

Nelson aside, I still think that the Oilers need a head coach with some experience leading the charge. Ideally, I would like to see Todd Nelson in an associate coaching role so that the Oilers can continue to capitalize on the existing relationships that he formed with the players. Whether or not Todd Nelson (or the Oilers) is up for that kind of arrangement is still up in the air.

As Lowetide would say, we wait…

  • Dirtski

    It was nice to see him get the power play going again. That should be the minimum benchmark for any coach of this team: top 5 powerplay. With this much talent there should be no excuse for a bad PP.

    It was also nice to see him get the team playing for each other. That’s something I’m not sure we’d ever seen until he got behind the bench.

    I really wanted him back because I was afraid Mac T was going to screw it up, but now with names like Babcock floating around, well I hope he remains on as an assistant.

    • Timing is everything, isn’t it? In a normal year maybe Nelson is the leading candidate. I think he’s deserving. In this year with names like Babcock, McLellan, Julien and Hitchcock out there, it’s a tough go for Nelson. I though he coached this team better than anyone has here since MacTavish in the SCF, arguably. I would love it if he’d work an associate or assistant coach here and keep the PP firing on all cylinders.

      • A Little Less Concerned

        What struck me was that he wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, and he confirmed what most fans had thought for a while:
        – Klefbom is a pretty good D man, but not ready to carry a guy like Schultz.

        – Yak needs confidence, and ice time, and the chance to develop alongside a veteran C.

        – Splitting up Hall Nuge Ebs, is not the worst idea in the world.

        – Lander is solid, and the better his linemates, the better he plays.

        – Marincin is better than many on the squad.

        – Schultz cannot handle tough defence assignments and his minutes need to be regulated.

        Finally, I also loved how Nelson has no idea how to dress himself. I really think the worse he looked, the better the team played.

        Anyway, I agree with you that as fun as all this is for fans, it probably suck a little bit for Nelson. Stupid Mac T hiring stupid Eakins. What a waste of a year and a half. But then again… McDavid.

      • A Little Less Concerned

        I agree with you there but I have to wonder, how much influence did Nelson actually have on the PP? Wasn’t Craig Ramsey hired with the idea that he would run (and fix) the special teams?

        I wonder if Nelson actually helped by not interfering so much.

        Eakins seemed like a control freak and it wouldn’t surprise me if he over ruled Ramsey more often than not, and Nelson actually let his staff do the job they were hired for.

  • orangepylon

    I know this has been said a lot, but it’s looking unlikely he stays. Who could blame him, especially if he has a chance to head coach another NHL team? Wish he would consider being the number two guy here. What would another decent scenario is if he got Philadelphia over Eakins.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    I think the best route for the Oilers is to hire Babcock or McLellan and keep Nelson on as an assistant. Nelson was way better than Eakins and also got the young guys producing. Whatever the new management team decides, I have faith in them, unlike Lowe and Co.

  • Zinner

    It would be a shame to see him go elsewhere and have a lot of success.

    I think he has shown that he will be a head coach somewhere at some point, maybe not this year unless it is with Edmonton, so why not give him his shot? He had success, he ran a good PP, give him some goaltending and 2 Jeff Petry’s (He had none, while Eakins had 1) and see what happens.

    Here’s a guy they’ve had in their system for 4 years, likely has some loyalty to the team and could be a coach here for the next 5-10 years (depending how things go).

    If he’d be willing to be an associate, learn under Babcock or Todd 2.0, and take the reins in 4 years I’d say that would be ideal. But if he’s leaning towards looking elsewhere if he doesn’t get Head Coach, I’d say give it to him.

    • Al Theeathoone

      People are too easily forgetting that the Oilers lost “all five games” to Calgary and “all five games” to Arizona this year. That’s 20 points given away to teams that weren’t much better if any than them.

      It’s the Coach’s main job to come up with a “game plan” on how to win against their next opponent(s).

      How he couldn’t come up with a game plan to beat Arizona even once (especially with Flubnyk in net) is more than telling about his coaching abilities. Losing all five games to their most despised rival was completely unacceptable. Without the ten points they gifted Calgary, the Flames wouldn’t have made the playoffs. In fact even one or two wins by the Oilers and the Flames wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

      Not to mention their horrific record against their Conference opponents.

      Should Nelson be the head coach for the Oilers next season simply because some of the players, some of the media and some fans happened to “like him” more than Adolph Eakins? Time for a reality check. Nelson is not an NHL coach. He may be some day but this team needs someone who is not “learning on the job”.

  • Zinner

    I’m hoping that PC Convinces Nelson on being an associate coach with the intent to hire Babcock or maclellon, and if they fall short, Nelson is given head coach.

  • vetinari

    Nelson did a great job given the circumstances but I think that a senior coach like Babcock would be less likely to have interference from management. Of course, with Lowe reassigned and MacT in a subordinate position, that may be less likely today than it would have been three months ago.

  • freelancer

    For some reason, I feel that if he doesn’t stay with Edmonton in some fashion, he will end up in Toronto. He’s shown he can get plenty out of a young inexperienced lineup. The young guys and vets both seemed to respond to him very well. Or how funny would it be if we ended up hiring MacLellan and Nelson took over as HC in San Jose.

  • Mangiant

    Nothing against Nelson. But…

    Yes, he seems to be good with the young guys. Fine. Here’s my problem with that: it takes more than “caring” and “effort” to win big.

    Who knows, maybe he has the systems and the drive to make it that far, but it’s an unknown.

    He also had a huge advantage this year, as he coached a big chunk of the players for the past several years. That advantage will quickly disappear, especially with the likely changes Chiarelli will make.

    Enough d*cking around. We are where we are because they were unable to pull the trigger on anything proven, they always knew better. I’ve had it!

    Plus, the some of the corgis ran away since Eakins left…

  • Mangiant

    I am honestlty leaning towards Mcllelan as our next coach. He seems to be motivating Hall and Ebs and would alresdy have that connection. Bancock is a hell of a coach and no doubt we would be a playoff team in no time, however that being said Mcllelan seems to have a more offensive mind as opposed to Babcocks defensive. I think Mcllelean would be a better fit for the amount of front line weapons we have. Gonna be a wicked powerplay next year!!Have a Happy McDavid Day Everyone!!

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    I posted this on the McLellan thread but feel it could go here too:

    Quote from Terry Jones’ article yesterday:

    “Todd had some choice words after the first. We just switched on the power. We just flipped on the switch. You have to play hard. And we weren’t doing that at first. After Todd got hold of us in the intermission, we started doing that,” said Eberle.


    1. McLellan as HC,
    2. Nelson as Associate in charge of the PP.
    3. Profit.

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    Nelson will be hired as an associate coach, no matter who the head coach is.
    He has excellent relations and respect with the most of the young players, as well as up to par special teams.

    I believe the Oilers coaching staff will be of epic proportions: it will include; Babcock, McLenna and Nelson.

    Why not!?!

  • Mangiant

    Let’s not forget equally crucial to the oilers return to legitimacy is hiring an established coach. Not that I’m not a fan of Nelson, because I am and he was able to do wonders with the PP and the generally sub-par roster. If he is head coach though that leaves the oilers with hiring another rookie NHL coach who ultimately will be a question mark (and the first to take the fall if the oilers get off to a bad start).
    I’m all for him as an assistant, but Chia needs to hard target Babcock or McLellan, and if not those two then Julien, Bylsma, MacLean and all the way down the line. I don’t see Nelson improving the optics of the oilers organization as much as any of those coaches would, and optics are crucial to attracting free agents and ultimately resurrecting the oilers from the dead.

  • Leef O'Golin


    I don’t feel bad for Nelson, that’s a coach’s life. He got his chance and he made a pretty decent chicken salad. It’s just at this point the Oilers are probably looking at an experienced HC after a succession of rookies. Whether or not he stays with the Oilers his recent work will look great on his resume and he’s still pretty young. He’ll be a head coach soon.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Make Nelson the highest paid #2 coach in the league. IMO he’s an asset. We need to hold on to assets. Letting assets walk is a thing of the past (I hope). We talkin about assets. Not the game. Not the game. Assets.

    We need him in the locker room. did you see the roster he had to work with? It was AHL caliber and we did better.

  • Leef O'Golin

    Ok I’m not a pessimist but McClellan was handed a team in San Jose that was already good but couldn’t win in the playoffs. He coach there for a long time with that really good team but still couldn’t win when it counted. Why is he such a good bet?

  • Leef O'Golin

    Jon Cooper and his AHL guys are running roughshod over the eastern conference.

    With a young term integrating a lot of AHL players into the NHL squad, sometimes going with the experienced AHL head coach of your own farm team is the best choice.

    The NHL experienced guys are used to veteran teams, and don’t necessarily have the flexibility to deal with all the young guys.

  • A Little Less Concerned

    I’m excited about getting an experienced coach. I’m also good with how Nelson finished off the season.

    I remember how I thought things were going to turn around when Quinn and Renney were hired. I was wrong but it still showed that the Oilers will spend good money on coaching.

    For now I have faith in PeterC and if he decides to go with Nelson, I’ll feel confident he put a lot of thought into the decision and I’ll look forward to seeing how it plays out.

    That being said, I expect MacLellan will be offered the Edmonton job and Nelson will be offered something with Edmonton. It would give him some good NHL experience under a respected head coach, making his resume look pretty good.

  • 15w40

    In that same Jones article, Mclelland is already quoted as saying he is bringing his right hand man from San Jose with him where ever he goes.

    I don’think either of Babcock or Mclelland is going to be told who to fill out their staff with.

    Nelson might not get a chance if he is not named head coach.

    It seems plain that Nelson would want more than just a bit part on the bench and some major say and responsibility. If these other guys already have their “#2” people, Nelson may just say thanks but no thanks

  • ubermiguel

    Nelson’s in a weird spot. Will other NHL teams want his services? Does he feel he’s earned an NHL gig? Would Nelson like working under another more experienced coach? Will a new coach want him as an Assistant/Associate? Does he want to go back to a new city in the AHL? Doea the fact his AHL gig would be in California have any extra appeal?

    I hope Chiarelli views Nelson as a real asset to the organization and the interview is about what Nelson wants and finding him the best fit somewhere as much as it is about applying for his own job.

  • OtOil

    A lot of people were more impressed with their smugness when MacT made the change than the actual result of the change…..

    Dump him, and get a winner already.