It was both inevitable and encouraged that Todd Nelson would eventually pop up in conversations with other teams looking to hire a new head coach. Nelson’s highly successful four seasons in Oklahoma City as coach of the Barons have been mostly un-phased by lock-outs, prospect heaviness, and injuries. Simply put, he’s one of the hottest AHL properties right now.
Mentioned several times today, but most prominently by Elliotte Friedman, Todd Nelson is being considered by the Carolina Hurricanes:
One other coaching note: Carolina's going through a very thorough process, but one interviewee was Edmonton's AHL coach, Todd Nelson.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 10, 2014
Most ponderers assumed that Nelson would land as an assistant with the Oilers, and that belief is still worth holding on to. Craig Ramsay has been appointed to Dallas Eakins coaching staff (with Kelly Buchberger moving to player personnel) while current assistant, Steve Smith, is rumored to be exploring his options. With Smith potentially gone, that leaves a hole (perhaps) in the traditional coaching panel with the Oilers.
Nelson might be hired by the Hurricanes. He might get an assistant job with the Oilers. Yet I claim that the former is a more real option for Todd at this time. He wants to be a head coach, and being passed over almost a year ago for Eakins has left him poised to take a job outside the confines of Oil Country.
Prepare yourselves, Barons fans, to be excited and disappointed by the loss of Nelson regardless of where he lands next season. He’s a winner. Coaches like that don’t grow on trees nor do they come to your newly assembled AHL team with quite the coaching resume as Nelson. A winner as a player. A winner as a coach. He’s a dandy.
Here at Tend the Farm we’ve talked in great detail about the potential roads that Nelson could travel (most recently here). This feels like the trail head moment. It’s all down hill from here.
More news to come, no doubt.