General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Oilers have relieved Dallas Eakins of his head coaching duties. MacTavish will work with interim Head Coach Todd Nelson before handing the team over.
Nelson has spent five seasons as the Head Coach of the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons. In 2014-15, Nelson has continued his success behind the bench, posting a record of 15-6-2-2 for 34 points and first place in the AHL’s Western Division through 25 games this season. During this stretch he also guided the Barons to a 10-game unbeaten streak (Nov.15-Dec.6) and eight straight wins, setting two club records.
Nelson’s most successful season as Oklahoma City’s bench boss was in 2011-12, when he led the Barons to first place finish in the Western Conference with 99 points and a record of 45-22-4-5. He also led the Barons to the Western Conference finals in consecutive years (2012, 2013) and has accumulated a record of 176-111-12-34 in 333 games, since being hired in 2010 as Head Coach of the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate.
The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native broke into the coaching ranks during the 2001-02 season as a player/assistant coach with the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League. Nelson spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, prior to joining the Barons in 2010. He has also spent time in the AHL as an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Chicago Wolves, where he won the Calder Cup in 2008.
Originally selected by the Penguins in the fourth round, 79th overall, of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Nelson played 12 seasons of professional hockey, which included NHL stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Nelson also appeared in 306 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Hershey Bears, Rochester Americans and Grand Rapids Griffins, totaling 168 points (37 goals, 131 assists) and 223 penalty minutes. He captured the 1994 Calder Cup with Portland and was inducted into that franchise’s hall of fame in 2007.
Gerry Fleming will serve as the interim Head Coach for the Oklahoma City Barons for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. Fleming has served as an Assistant Coach in Oklahoma City for five seasons under Todd Nelson.