NELSON TO GRAND RAPIDS?

nelson capture

Todd Nelson will have a new team to coach in 2014-15 and it could be at the Van Andel area in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Oklahoma City’s coach, who mentored so many young Oilers prospects over four plus seasons, may be doing good work for the Detroit Red Wings beginning this fall.

Peter Wallner of MLive has a story out today naming Nelson as a finalist for the AHL head job in Grand Rapids, which sounds like a similar situation to the Oilers job in Bakersfield on the face of it.

  • Wallner:  Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde and former interim Edmonton Oilers
    coach Todd Nelson are on a final list of candidates to take over as
    coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.Both are among “two or three” candidates that may be further
    contacted this week, Ryan Martin, Detroit Red Wings assistant general
    manager, said in a text Monday. Source

Why is this situation different? Why would Nelson prefer to move on? One suspects part of it is being passed over for Dallas Eakins—despite being as qualified or more qualified—and part of it may have to do with reputation. The Red Wings remain the gold standard for doing things right and if Nelson can have success in GR, chances are he’ll get noticed.

Either way, Nelson won’t return to the Oilers organization and that’s a damn shame. Bad timing, that’s all, he certainly showed some good things when he finally got an NHL chance. He came to the Oilers during a time when the organization was trying to establish an AHL presence and develop players who could help at the NHL level. Nelson, along with Steve Tambellini and others, re-established the brand for Edmonton in the AHL and in developing players like Jeff Petry, Anton Lander and Chris VandeVelde.

He’ll be missed but life goes on. Gerry Fleming is the odds-on favorite to be Bakersfield’s coach this fall and he’ll be charged with getting Laurent Brossoit, Bogdan Yakimov and Greg Chase to the NHL.

  • nqmt

    I will miss Nelson and i wish him all the luck in the world. However, without us passing over Nelson and hiring Eakins, we wouldn’t have been bad enough to draft Connor McDavid. Godspeed Nelson

  • Morgo_82

    As much as I’d love to see Nelson as McLellan’s associate, I’m happy that he’ll get a head coaching job somewhere even if it is in the AHL but if this man doesn’t get an NHL coaching job sometime in the next couple of years, it’s a bloody travesty.

    Cheers Todd, I wish you the best.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    If the Oilers don’t win the lottery, Nelson is likely our coach next year.

    Crazy.

    Wherever he ends up, best of luck to him. Thanks for salvaging Anton Lander, Nelly.

  • paul wodehouse

    We fans will always have people in the org that we like and dislike. Safe to say that Nelson fell into the “LIKE” category amongst the vast majority of us.

    Good luck Todd! In the hockey world, you deserve a whole lot more than you have received.

  • nqmt

    the short time that Nelson and Kruger served as Oilers head coach was the best the Oilers played. Sad that MacT F’ed things up so bad at one of the most important positions.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    it’s too bad he basically has to start all over again in the AHL as a head coach, unless Detroit’s new head coach get’s fired, then Nelson would presumably be next in line.

  • 916oiler

    Good Riddance!! We don’t need any hot shot up and comers anyways!!! We have Lowe and MacTavish!!! They’ve won lots of rings.. Just ask them!!!

    Now if you’d excuse me…. I have a jumbo donair to enjoy!!

    • Kevwan

      I’m pretty sure the compensation pick is for NHL head coach and above.

      The Oilers were better for having Nelson in the organization. We’ll see him as an NHL HC again.

  • Super Sweet

    Selfishly I want Todd Nelson to stay on the Oilers but I wish him luck and I’m glad quality organizations like Scranton Penguins and Grand Rapids Griffiths are interested in him.

    It really show’s how much quality Todd Nelson really is when the Scranton Penguins which is NHL’s current biggest coaching factory with 5 current NHL Head Coaches were alumni head coaches for the Scranton Penguins and Grand Rapids being Detroit’s farm team and Detroit being the Gold Standard of NHL Franchises and all.

    Also before anyone asks the 5 current NHL Head Coaches that were Scranton Penguins Head Coaches are Dan Bylsma (BUF), Michel Therrian (MON), Mike Yeo (MIN), Todd Richards (CBJ), John Hynes (NJD).

  • TKB2677

    I am still on the fence if being a head coach in the AHL or an assistant on a good team is better if you want to be an NHL coach. With McDavid coming along, the Oilers are going to be a heavily watched, covered team. Assuming they have success, I have to think being an assistant coach behind a top end coach like McLellan, on a good, up and coming, highly visible and media covered team would be very attractive. The Oilers are going to be front and center for several years while McDavid comes in and if he turns in the NHL’s best player in a few years like people say he will, he’s going to be one of the guys on a rock star team. I get that he wants to be a head coach but I wonder if part of the reason he wants to leave to go back to the minors for another franchise is because he’s pissed at being passed over again. Hiring Eakins over him was a mistake but no disrespect to Nelson, McLellan is a lot better coach.

  • bumblebpete

    Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere’s shining lights for over a century.

    A century!! Man you are old!!

    I’m a fine 1956 model, but i didn’t think I was a centurion.

    I enjoy your blogs and your radio shows. Keep up the good work in the next century.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Worst radio show on the air. Giggles continuously at nothing funny. Inane, moronic titter with Lt. Eric about nothing. Raging hard on for Dennis King , whoever he is. And I’d go to Fife and Deckel but all they have is roast beef. Haven’t listened for a while but pretty sure it’s still awfull.

  • vetinari

    Nelson is a good coach and a good team player. Wish him nothing but success and will be pulling for him to get an NHL bench boss position (and it better be before we see the return of Dallas Eakins)!

  • Reg Dunlop

    Seems to me that Nelson has enough self respect to move along when he felt disrespected. Why, then, has Mac and Kev accepted the slight of being replaced? If anyone should get stepping it’s those two.

    • wiseguy

      Because as Mact found out, they don’t have any other job opportunities. Nelson will immediately have some in the AHL and his NHL chance will come very soon.