TODD NELSON’S BACK

The Edmonton Oilers have renewed the contracts of Todd Nelson and the entire OKC Barons coaching staff. It’s an important job and one the Oilers often overlooked during their “shared” AHL teams and orphan prospects of the early ’00s under the EIG.

The job of the AHL coaching staff is the following: developing talent, grinding quality prospects into useful NHL players by preaching consistency, intelligent play and making sure you’re in the right place on the ice. Sounds simple, but the Oilers own draft history is full of names unable to develop in this way.

Since taking over the coaching job in fall 2010, the following OKC players have received callups under Nelson and made their NHL debuts:

  • Jeff Petry, 108 NHL games and a bona fide NHL player whose time with Nelson as coach was important to his development.
  • Linus Omark, 65 NHL games and a lot of offensive success in the AHL.
  • Teemu Hartikainen, 29 NHL games and a strong chance to make the roster as a regular in 12-13.
  • Colten Teubert, 24 NHL games and developing.
  • Chris VandeVelde, 17 NHL games and plenty of time learning the defensive aspects of playing center at the pro level.
  • Alex Plante, 10 NHL games (6 since Nelson arrived) and his two best AHL seasons.
  • Colin McDonald, 7 NHL games (5 since Nelson took over) and a career season that allowed him to get a very good contract from Pittsburgh summer 2011.
  • Phil Cornet, 2 NHL games and a giant leap forward offensively under Nelson.
  • Milan Kytnar, a 1 game cup of coffee before heading back to Europe.

Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi, Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Kirill Tulupov and others are in the pipeline and we should expect more success from the AHL players knocking on the NHL door.

Is this a good resume after two seasons? It looks like it, Petry’s development has to be shared with his NCAA team but in interviews he’s given credit to the things learned in the American Hockey League. I think we can safely say that the Nelson OKC resume is miles beyond the EIG shared group of last decade. Whether the Barons template provides “average” or “above average” production is something we can look at in a couple of years.

It’s too soon to know how well they’re doing compared to league average.

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19 Responses to "TODD NELSON’S BACK"

  1. DeadmanWaking says:

    I’m severely OT here, but I’ve just discovered our secret weapon, fresh off the press:

    The NFL’s Headlong Race to Build the Unbreakable Linebacker

    He raised a carbon-fiber hockey stick over his head, looked out over the 150 or so members of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society gathered before him and challenged any one of them to whack him with it. A murmur went through the crowd. People looked at each other. These were professional trainers, and they knew what a shot to the gut could do to a man. … Finally, two members of the Edmonton Oilers training staff took the bait. “Are you serious?” one of them asked from the middle of the room. “Dead serious,” Vito replied, waving the stick as if to taunt them. “I want you to hit me with this hockey stick as hard as you can.” One of the men stepped up and hit Vito with a tepid cross-check. Vito didn’t flinch. “Come on,” he barked. “Harder.” The trainer obliged, hitting Vito so hard the stick nearly snapped in two. Vito’s belly shook and quaked as he doubled over. The crowd gasped. But after hamming it up a moment, Vito stood up and roared with laughter. “Is that all you’ve got?” he asked the trainer. “No wonder you guys lose so much.” The room erupted with laughter, but the trainers from Edmonton were all business. They placed an order for Vito’s Kevlar pads on the spot.

  2. ASkoreyko says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    I’m severely OT here, but I’ve just discovered our secret weapon, fresh off the press:

    The NFL’s Headlong Race to Build the Unbreakable Linebacker

    Damn you DMW, I was just about to post the same link.

    Looks like we don’t need any player protection, just give the kids better armour against the big bullies out on the ice.

    Turn them into Hockey’s Homer, just take the punishment until the other team tires out!

  3. justDOit says:

    Cover every square inch of Yakupov with those pads – Russian Tank!

  4. Gret99zky says:

    Great news for OKC and the prospects in the pipeline.

    I give ST and Oiler brass a fair share of guff but they have done a very good job with the farm system.

    Now if the NHL trainers can somehow comprise Oilers players with 51% adamantium we wouldn’t need any depth.

  5. spoiler says:

    DeadmanWaking: I’m severely OT here, but I’ve just discovered our secret weapon, fresh off the press: The NFL’s Headlong Race to Build the Unbreakable Linebacker

    There’s a series of class action lawsuits on concussions coming to the NFL that could devastate not only the pro league but also College and High School football.

    There will be a lot of pressure to re-invent the game into some form of “non-concussion football”, and how the hell they’re going to be able to swing that is beyond me.

    I imagine the NHL will be watching the progression of these lawsuits with great interest.

  6. OilClog says:

    Protection is simple.. They just need better defensive weaponry, shock armor.. The opposition will start playing the puck more.

  7. remlap says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Thanks for that article. Quite an interesting read.

  8. Ducey says:

    “I want you to hit me with this hockey stick as hard as you can.” One of the men stepped up and hit Vito with a tepid cross-check. Vito didn’t flinch. “Come on,” he barked. “Harder.” The trainer obliged, hitting Vito so hard the stick nearly snapped in two. Vito’s belly shook and quaked as he doubled over. The crowd gasped. But after hamming it up a moment, Vito stood up and roared with laughter. “Is that all you’ve got?” he asked the trainer. “No wonder you guys lose so much.” The room erupted with laughter, but the trainers from Edmonton were all business. They placed an order for Vito’s Kevlar pads on the spot.

    Next time the Oilers should send Messier. Vito would be picking up his teeth for a week.

    I can see this stuff further encouraging shot blocking and helping to prevent to odd cracked rib or internal injury but it doesn’t seem likely to do much for concussions. Those are usually caused by the player’s brain hitting the inside of his skull.

  9. justDOit says:

    @DmW: Thanks for posting – interesting, but I don’t think that kevlar padding will help much. It will certainly reduce the number of deep bruises and some broken ribs, and it’s only a matter of time until some player takes a slapshot to the chest – which kevlar would really help lessen the impact of.

    What the NHL needs is something to stem the tide of concussions. By making the player feel invincible with all that kevlar, their melon then becomes that much more susceptible to injury by their improved confidence, which could lead to a more reckless style of play.

    If improved equipment isn’t the answer, what is? Do we need to bring back wood sticks, steel skate blades and eliminate helmets and visors? Do we impose an off-season conditioning plan of Molsons and burgers for the players?

  10. bookje says:

    spoiler: There’s a series of class action lawsuits on concussions coming to the NFL that could devastate not only the pro league but also College and High School football.

    There will be a lot of pressure to re-invent the game into some form of “non-concussion football”, and how the hell they’re going to be able to swing that is beyond me.

    I imagine the NHL will be watching the progression of these lawsuits with great interest.

    I am pretty sure our grandkids will look at head to head helmet collisions in football as incredulously as we look at goalies standing in the net with no mask on.

  11. justDOit says:

    Ducey,

    ah – you beat me to it.

    As for Mess… anyone remember Vladimir Kovin? I’m not sure that Kovin remembers…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNS_k7jWDqE

  12. Cactus says:

    justDOit:
    Cover every square inch of Yakupov with those pads – Russian Tank!

    Only if he takes the number 72. Then he can be this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72

    Of course, having a Russian tank nickname being the same year as the Summit Series might piss off all the yahoos who hate Russians.

  13. Smarmy says:

    These new Kevlar pads are just the trick to let people hit even harder. We might be treated to actually seeing a hit tear a man’s brain in two. Gonna be great.

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    LT… Gotta say for a guy that’s managed to choose exceptionally flattering photos to match your posts 99.999% of the time… that photo of Nelson is just awful.

    @Everyone on the new pads… what do you make of the Cherry argument that more padding leads to further injury because

    1) a lot of this padding is so hard it’s like being hit with a wall; and,

    2) the psychological enabling problem: same principle as SUVs leading to a higher rate of accidents, i.e., you feel invincible and therefore engage in riskier behavior

    I’m curious to hear what you all think about these issues.

  15. Ducey says:

    Cactus: Only if he takes the number 72. Then he can be this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72Of course, having a Russian tank nickname being the same year as the Summit Series might piss off all the yahoos who hate Russians.

    That reminds me. The Soviets had a number of planes called Yaklovev’s which where nicknamed “Yak”. The Yak-3 was a pretty decent fighter in WWII. New nickname for Yakupov?

  16. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    LT… Gotta say for a guy that’s managed to choose exceptionally flattering photos to match your posts 99.999% of the time… that photo of Nelson is just awful.

    @Everyone on the new pads… what do you make of the Cherry argument that more padding leads to further injury because

    1) a lot of this padding is so hard it’s like being hit with a wall; and,

    2) the psychological enabling problem: same principle as SUVs leading to a higher rate of accidents, i.e., you feel invincible and therefore engage in riskier behavior

    I’m curious to hear what you all think about these issues.

    Rom: lol. I posted this on my phone, it was an old article and I had forgotten the awfulness of the photo. I’m working on another article right now, it’ll be up about 5:30 and then I’ll fix it.

  17. Cactus says:

    Ducey: That reminds me.The Soviets had a number of planes called Yaklovev’s which where nicknamed “Yak”.The Yak-3 was a pretty decent fighter in WWII.New nickname for Yakupov?

    I love it. Very underrated fighter in that war, given the amount of press given to US, UK and German planes. Unfortunately, no one will know what the hell we’re talking about.

  18. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Uh, yeah, about that. The plane that was carrying Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was a Yak-42.

  19. CrazyCoach says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: @Everyone on the new pads… what do you make of the Cherry argument that more padding leads to further injury because
    1) a lot of this padding is so hard it’s like being hit with a wall; and,
    2) the psychological enabling problem: same principle as SUVs leading to a higher rate of accidents, i.e., you feel invincible and therefore engage in riskier behavior
    I’m curious to hear what you all think about these issues.

    I’m not sure of the 1st point, but there is some validity to the second point. For those of us old enough to remember, there was a time in minor hockey that you didn’t have to wear a full face guard. Just a helmet, and sometimes a mouthguard, but nothing like the cages you see today. The mandatory cages came into play thanks to the work of Dr. Tom Pashby, whose diligent research and lobbying has saved countless players vision over the years. Facial and eye injuries have virtually disappeared at the minor hockey level since the cage came into play.

    However, there also came a drastic increase in head traumas, such as concussions, with the introduction of mandatory face guards as well. The cage brought about a sense of invincibility and also brought the head into play as a target for body checks. I know when we were kids (AUGH, I sound so much like my dad), the head was out of bounds, period due to no face guard. Now, I realize that my argument has flaws such as the increased awareness and reporting of concussions. We thankfully treat shots to the head in a different manner than we did 30 years ago.

    If we’ve learned anything these days is that when you introduce certain pieces of equipment to the game or make them mandatory, there needs to be a concerted effort to ensure that you do no further damage to players or introduce something to players that could cause future harm.

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