Todd Nelson named Barons’ first head coach

The Oklahoma City Barons, AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, have their coaching staff in place. The Oilers hockey operations staff announced Todd Nelson as head coach and Gerry Fleming as the assistant coach at a press conference today in Oklahoma City.

Nelson has been involved with the Atlanta Thrashers organization for the last four seasons. From 2008-10, he served as the assistant coach with the Thrashers. From 2006-08, he served a similar role with the Chicago Wolves, the Thrashers’ AHL affiliate. With the Wolves, Nelson won the Calder Cup in 2008, his third championship as a coach.

Prior to coaching with the Wolves, he won two championships in a three-season span as head coach the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League. In those three seasons, he guided the Fury to two different 50-win seasons and compiled an overall record of 149-58-25.

A fourth-round selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Nelson played for 12 seasons in the professional ranks, including stints with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a veteran of nearly 900 professional games, recording 391 points, and he was a member of the Portland Pirates’ 1994 Calder Cup championship squad.

Originally from Montreal, Fleming has been the assistant coach for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate for the last two seasons in Springfield, Mass. Prior to his stint with the Oilers, he spent eight seasons as a head coach in the ECHL. All but one season of his tenure in the ECHL was with the Florida Everblades. He led Florida to the playoffs in each of his seven seasons 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 of Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Fredericton.

Fleming’s entire professional playing career was spent with the Montreal Canadiens organization. He played 271 games over seven seasons with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Fredericton, recording 103 points (38-65-103) and serving 1,035 penalty minutes. He played 11 games in the NHL with Montreal, serving 42 penalty minutes in those games.

The Barons will begin their inaugural AHL season this October.