— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) July 21, 2015
The Edmonton Oilers rounded out their minor-league affiliate coaching staffs without any big surprises.
As expected, Gerry Fleming, who took over the Oklahoma City Barons when Todd Nelson was promoted to interim bench boss with the Oilers, remains at the helm of the Oil’s new AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. Along for the ride from OKC is assistant coach Tony Borgford. Fleming’s other assistant is JF Houle, formerly the head coach in Bakersfield when the Condors were of the ECHL edition.
Down a rung, the Oil’s new ECHL farm team, the Norfolk Admirals, will be run by head coach Eric Veilleux and former Condors assistant coach Ben Boudreau, the son of Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Fleming stepped up when Nelson got the call and pushed the Barons to a 26-21-3-1 finish in the regular season. The Barons then swept San Antonio in the opening round of the playoffs before being ousted in seven games by Utica. Fleming has been an assistant coach with the Oilers’ AHL team since 2008-09 in both OKC and Springfield. He also was under assistant under Michel Therrien at the AHL level for two years, and was head coach in the ECHL for eight seasons.
He’ll be backed by Borgford who was with him in OKC last season. Prior to that, Borgford was the video coordinator for both Winnipeg and Atlanta.
Fleming’s other assistant is also his former player. Houle, who played for Fleming in both Fredricton and Tallahassee and was his captain with the Tiger Sharks, was hired by the Oilers last season to run the Bakersfield ECHL entry, and now gets to stick around California as the club moves up a level. Houle is the son of former Canadiens great Rejean Houle.
A GREAT FIT…
Oilers assistant GM Bill Scott:
“We are thrilled to announce our hockey operations staff, led by Head Coach Gerry Fleming, who will be a tremendous leader in Bakersfield. Gerry’s attention to detail and ability to develop our young players made him a natural fit to return as head coach. By adding JF Houle as assistant coach and with the return of Assistant Coach Tony Borgford, we believe we have a tremendous coaching staff ready to take the Condors to the next level.”
The Condors are likely to have one of the most talent-laden rosters in the AHL with several high-end Oiler prospects potentially on the roster (Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Laurent Brossoit, Bogdan Yakimov, Iiro Pakarinen). They’ll also have some veteran hands around for leadership (Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller, Ryan Hamilton, Matthew Ford).
Houle noted recently that he was already recruiting for Norfolk, but he’ll turn the rest of that job over to Veilleux.
Veilleux was an assistant under Jarrod Skalde last season with the Admirals but that entire coaching staff was fired when Anaheim pulled its AHL affiliation from Norfolk to San Diego. Veilleux stuck around Virginia and it paid off.
Boudreau, who was Houle’s primary assistant last season in Bakersfield, packs up and moves east.
It’s highly unlikely Veilleux sees any of the Oilers’ top prospects other than at training camp though there’s a chance middling hopefuls like Alexis Loiseau, Eetu Laurikinen, Braden Christopher appear with the Admirals.