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Report: Oilers head coach to interview for Oilers head coaching job

Todd Nelson

Todd Nelson


Todd Nelson received a fair amount of praise for his work as Edmonton’s interim bench boss this season and now, he’ll get a chance to... interview for that same job.

From TSN:

Todd Nelson will interview for the Oilers head coaching job this weekend. Obviously, Chiarelli wants to get to know Nelson a bit better...

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 7, 2015

Nelson still has term remaining on his AHL contract, but if not a fit in Edmonton it’s expected he will attract other NHL interest.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 7, 2015

While it does make for an amusing headline (to me, anyway), the interview process is a necessary step given the recent front office upheaval in Edmonton. Former Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson was brought in as CEO on Apr. 20 and, four days later, ex-Boston GM Peter Chiarelli was given the dual role of general manager and president of hockey ops.

That left the guy that promoted Nelson to head coach -- former GM Craig MacTavish -- in an odd position; rather than be dismissed, MacTavish was retained as Chiarelli’s “No. 2 guy” though it’s yet to be determined what MacT’s official title will be.

Whatever the case, it puts Nelson in a tough spot. While MacTavish was a big fan -- “I’ve admired the job and respected the job he’s done,” he said of Nelson’s work -- it’s very possible Nicholson and Chiarelli want to point the organization in a new direction, rather than stick with the status quo.

What’s more, there are a number of coaching free agents available, including ex-Sharks head coach Todd McLellan and, potentially, Detroit’s Mike Babcock, who has close ties to Nicholson through their work with the Canadian Olympic teams.

It’s also possible Chiarelli’s bench boss in Boston, Claude Julien, could hit the open market.