|(From left to right) Rocky Thompson, Todd Nelson & Gerry Fleming. All three led to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons to a first-place finish in the Western Conference this past season (Photo by Steven Christy).
General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have re-signed Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson and Assistant Coaches Gerry Fleming and Rocky Thompson.
All three members of the AHL coaching staff are entering their third season with the Barons. In each of their first two campaigns, the staff produced 40-win seasons and a trip to the 2012 Calder Cup Western Conference Finals. In their first season together, the team posted a 40-29-2-9 mark and a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in eight years for the Oilers organization.
Steve Tambellini says, “We are very excited to have Todd, Gerry and Rocky return to the Oklahoma City Barons. Under their leadership the Barons have excelled each season and they continue to play a critical role in developing our young talent.”
The coaching staff improved upon a strong 2010-11 season in 2011-12. Nelson and his staff guided the Barons to a 45-22-4-5 record, 99 points and the Western Conference regular season title. In the postseason, the Barons won their first two series before falling to the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference Finals. Last season, the Barons were one of the top defensive clubs in the league, allowing just 176 goals over the 76-game schedule.
Nelson, 43, joined the coaching ranks in 2003 as head coach of the Muskegon Fury. In three seasons as coach of the Fury, he led them to back-to-back 50-win seasons and two league championships. Following his time with Muskegon, he joined the Atlanta Thrashers organization. He spent two seasons as the assistant coach with the Thrashers AHL affiliate in Chicago and two seasons in Atlanta. Originally a 4th round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, he played nearly 900 games in the professional ranks.
Originally from Montreal, Fleming, 46, has been an assistant coach for the Oilers top affiliate for the last four seasons. Prior to his stint with the Oilers, he spent eight seasons as a head coach in the ECHL, seven with the Florida Everblades. He led Florida to the playoffs in each season behind the bench, including back-to-back trips to the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005. He broke into coaching in 1998 as the assistant coach for Montreal's AHL affiliate in Fredericton. Fleming played nearly 300 games as a pro, all with the Montreal organization.
Following a playing career that included nearly 600 games in the professional ranks, Thompson, 35, began his coaching career as an assistant with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2007. Following three seasons with the Oil Kings, he joined the Barons staff. Originally a 3rd round draft choice of Calgary in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Thompson played 25 games in the NHL with Calgary and Florida.
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