Sean Shapiro of The Athletic tweeted this morning that the Dallas Stars are close to a deal to bring Todd Nelson to the club as an assistant coach.
Not finalized yet, but Stars are close to a deal to bring in Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson as an assistant on Jim Montgomery's staff.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 30, 2018
At lunch time, Craig Custance confirmed that the move is, indeed, happening:
This is happening. Nelson leaving Grand Rapids to join Dallas. I'd expect Ben Simon to get a look in GR as Nelson's replacement but Red Wings in early stages there. https://t.co/A4Dyefn779— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) May 30, 2018
Following a career in minor hockey, Nelson moved behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Muskegon Fury for the 2001-02 season. The next season, he made the jump to the AHL and became the assistant coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He then went back to the Fury as their head coach, won the UHL championship a couple of times, then moved back into the AHL to be an assistant with the Chicago Wolves.
In 2008, he became assistant coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, then head coach of the Oklahoma City Barons, former AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. After Dallas Eakins was fired in 2014, Todd Nelson was tapped as head coach of the Oilers, where he spent one season behind the bench. He’s been head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins since then.
In an interview with Craig Custance in the Athletic, Nelson describes his coach style as “‘We fight fire with fire’ and we’re going to jam it down their throat.” [The Athletic] This has to be exciting for Stars fans, given the perception that the Stars turtle up with the lead instead of maintaining the attack. There’s a lot to appreciate in a “take no prisoners” philosophy of play.
And, given that Nelson was mentioned on the list of potential head coaches around the NHL this season, potentially getting him behind the Stars bench as an assistant certainly feels like a win.