WWYDW: The Nelson Conundrum

Limbo is a popular dance contest that originated on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where contestants try to dance their way underneath a horizontal bar. Limbo is also a state in which Todd Nelson finds himself in, currently still under contract by the Oilers, but kicked out of the captains chair in favour of Todd McLellan. 

I feel like it’s safe to say we all fell in love with Uncle Todd last season. He was basically the opposite of Dallas Eakins, and has characteristics that go over REALLY well in Edmonton (Dad Bod, 90’s goatee, ill-fitting suits, rides a hog, etc). He did a great job with the Oklahoma City Barons, and finally got a chance to step up to the big leagues after being passed over for the Oilers skipper job twice. And by all indications he seems to be a “players coach”, a guy that may not be the most tactically advanced, but who can bring the best out of his players. 


As Todd McLellan said yesterday during his introductory press conference he (obviously) hasn’t had much time to sit down with the current members of the coaching staff to get a feel of what he potentially has at his disposal.  

I’ve always been of the opinion that while Todd Nelson did a fine job with the tire fire of a roster he inherited last December, he seems better suited for an assistant coach job; the good cop to the head coaches bad cop. In my ideal world I would love if McLellan kept Nelson on, and we spent all season making hilarious Todd puns (Eg. Two T’s In A Todd). However New Todd mentioned that this was a chance for both he and Chiarelli to start fresh. It would not surprise me at all if McLellan brought in an entire staff of his own, rather than hanging onto some of the current Oiler assistants currently suffering from PMSD (Post MacTavish Stress Disorder). 

What say you Nation? Do you think McLellan will keep Nelson on the staff, as he’s already familiar with the players and has done a great job helping a number of players make the jump from the AHL to the NHL? Would YOU keep him on if you had the choice? Send him back down to keep developing players on the farm? LET’S ARGUE ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS! GO! 

        • hagar

          Hahahahahaha!! And 3 years of pay for doing nothing after its his fault the leafs suck!!

          Pure genious of a deal if you ask me!!

          Have you seen on these American real-estate shows what 10 mill gets a guy? I would gladly live like Pablo Escobar to coach the craptacular leafs for a couple years!!

    • hagar


      The sooner we stop thinking we “owe” everyone, the sooner the team gets back on track.

      Nelson is the one person the oilers have put into power that I have reservations about thinking that way.. but I still think that way..

      Enough is enough.. Ryan Smith would be playing at age 45 if we all went off heart.

  • Unless I am missing something, the idea of the AHL farm team is development of talent. I don’t see why coaches should be different than players in this respect.

    Nelson did a fine job coaching in OKC. He was having good success, players liked him, the fans liked him also. To be honest, I can’t remember hearing anything negative spoken of Todd by anyone. He stepped up to take over coaching duties of the Oilers under terrible circumstances after Eakins had driven the players self esteem into the ground, and the fans to the edge of despair. In short order, he was able to get production from some of the guys who were struggling the hardest. overall the entire team responded well under his work. Again, from all accounts, the players liked him and he never complained about anything, despite knowing he would likely not be the head coach of the Oilers next season.

    What I am trying to say is Todd Nelson deserves to be an assistant coach for the Oilers, under McLellans leadership, if that’s what he chooses to do. If McLellan doesn’t want to use Nelson in that role, then there’s an AHL team in Bakersfield that should be his option also.

    It wouldn’t make any sense at all to develop a coach in the system, then let him walk away from the franchise when he shows all the traits of a guy we should keep.

    In time, he could very well be one of our greatest assets. Or the alternative may be to stand by and watch as he becomes another teams asset, and it’s not as if fans of the Oilers haven’t seen that happen over and over again.

    Let’s hope the right thing gets done here. Keep Todd Nelson.

    • hagar

      It’s just one of those things. I agree with wanting Nelson on the crew, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

      We have both agreed on moving assets that nobody wants to see go, and decisions just need to happen when you are trying to pull a 180. If Nelson is in on taking a lesser role, then that’s great for the oilers! If he isn’t, and wants to explore other options, then that is great for Nelson..

      Nelson doesn’t owe us anything, and the fact he got bumped (I am happy with the choice), means he should be free and in my view, happy to find other chances.

      The oilers have finally moved on, and I truly hope he makes out like Dubnyk.

      We should be happy to see people that deserve success, get success. Look at Cogs playing for the ducks.. I love it!!

      • you’re right, I do think that we should move assets that we have in abundance for things that we don’t currently have enough of. I simply don’t see the coaching aspect as being in this realm at this point in time. there are opportunities within our organization for Todd to go to if he wishes to take those positions.

        But with that being said, I also agree with you that if he decides that he would like to go pursue opportunities elsewhere, that is his choice I think he’s earned the right to make his own choices.

        If he does decide to move on I wish him well I hope he does exceedingly well in his career.

  • hagar

    It’s a big league, and no team can have everything that is a success story.

    Success stories quite often require chapters, and chapters come from different times in life that birth them.

    I don’t want Dubnyk back, he is doing his own thing now, and I would never expect him to return.

    Just have to move on some times. As with life, as with sport.

  • hagar

    Back down to keep developing future Oil stars on the farm. Old Todd did his best for the team. He deserved better destiny

    Actually new Todd have his own right brains, right experience and right people around. What he will do is right. Finally new bosses will show the right street for Copper’n’Blue gang

    Yes, people, Copper’n’Blue. Pittsburgh-based Gulf Oil colors looks good. On Porsche or Aston. But not on my favorite team

  • hagar

    I hope Todd Nelson stay on as associate coach with McLellan, he had done everything at AHL level. So it’s good for him to learn at NHL level.

    Even McLellan learned from Babcock back in Detroit.

    MacT biggest mistake was hiring of Eakins, he should have let Nelson coached Oilers 2 years ago. Promote from within not from other teams personnel.

    The Leafs and Flyers didn’t hire Eakins, they are smart not to hire that clown to coach their team.

    We all learn from our mistakes, so now MacT learned that.

    MacT now assistant GM and Nelson as associate coach (I hope he stays). MacT could have been the Capt of his ship and Nelson as his 1st Mate. Now they are second in their jobs.

  • I’d love it if they were able to keep Nelson around with the Oilers. I believe the entire team would benefit from it.

    That said, I fully understand if Nelson wants to show his talents elsewhere and if that’s his choice I fully expect the Oilers to let him do just that.

  • Anton CP

    Part of the thing is, if any other team wants to hire Nelson that they need to also compensate a pick to Oilers since he is still under contract with the organization. The idiotic CBA’s clause will see Oilers surrendering 2 picks to Bruins and Sharks for hiring Chiarelli and McLellan, too bad that no one will hire Eakins or MacT for exchange of the picks back. Nelson might be the only valuable piece with the Oilers that anyone will have interested in.

    On that thought, maybe we shouldn’t criticize Eakins too much and scared off his potential future employer, maybe we can help out by saying something nice about Eakins so he can work in NHL again (for compensation, of course)…but I have no idea where to start, so can anyone help?

  • Joy S. Lee

    Nelson has intimate knowledge of what McLellan will have to work with in the overall sense of the players. As a transitionary piece, alone, I think it would make sense to keep him on staff to assist in that. Unless Nelson chooses differently, however, I think that Nelson deserves that consideration, at least for one year, that’s my take on it.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Believe it or not, I’m actually happy for the Leafs. McLellan and Babcock are two of the elite coaches in the league, and now they’re coaching in Canada. McDavid is coming to a top Canadian hockey market where his skills will be fully appreciated by the entire city. Hockey in Canada is going to get that much better.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Man, Babcock seems like a douche and a half. He keeps referring to himself in third person.WTF?!? Who does he think he is?

    I don’t understand how he can say the Leaves are Canada’s team. Maybe Canadian Media’s team but definitely not the people. These people believe that if they say something often enough it will become true.

    #*@$ the Leaves as a team, staff and as a crew. And if you want to be down with the Leaves-#*@$ you too.

  • Zamboni Driver

    “The Oilers don’t interview enough.” (true)

    “The Oilers keep foisting assistant coaches on head coaches.” (Bucky’s pix of KLowe are now uselss)

    “We need to mix things up. Too much losing.”

    “Todd needs to keep Todd. Even though he has probably never met the dude.”

    Does this seem idiotic to anyone else?

    I’m sure Nelson is a fine person.

    Who. The. Hell. Cares. What. Happens. To. Him?!

  • Zamboni Driver

    Cardinal sin of Oilersnation. following up on myself, I realize, but this just is so ludicrous.

    “I liked Todd Nelson”

    Okay. Other than ‘he was better than Dallas Eakins’ (I am also better than Dallas Eakins, btw) – What did you like about him?

    Made Yakupov marginally better?

    Made Eberle care slightly beyond his maximum gnat-like attention span last year?

    People can never be satisfied. They got an actual hockey coach with gasp no ties to either the “Glory Days”, or the dumpster fire of the last 20 years.

    Enjoy it for 10 seconds.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Just a note to express my support that Todd Nelson represents the most continuity of any of the assistant coaches and I mean with the players themselves. I hate to think that Todd McL would not consult some of the players prior to taking another route with Todd N. This tiny bit island continuity in an ocean of welcome changes would be a good call.