The inevitable has happened, to the Griffins despair, as Red Wings have granted the coach-less Arizona Coyotes permission to interview Griffins head coach Todd Nelson, per Helene St. James:
Arizona Coyotes have received permission from Red Wings to interview Todd Nelson. Just coached Grand Rapids Griffins to 2017 Calder Cup.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) June 27, 2017
As St. James points out in her tweet, Nelson, the former Griffin, coached the Detroit affiliate to their second Calder Cup title in five years.
The Coyotes would be smart to hire Nelson, as his open-door policy plays well with young players. Nelson got the most out of young players like Joe Hicketts, Tyler Bertuzzi (playoff MVP), and Evgeny Svechnikov, among others. The Coyotes are a young team with a lot of talent in their pipeline. A coach like Nelson backed by a young, progressive-minded general manager like John Chayka could be a real good mix.
Obviously, the Coyotes are a season or two away from being contenders, but Nelson could act as a real good stop-gap for them, and possibly more.
If Arizona were to hire Nelson, it would be a huge blow to the organization. Nelson did wonders with the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate in Oklahoma City, and inherited a pre-Connor McDavid tire-fire when given the promotion to interim coach at the NHL level. The trend of rising AHL coaches moving to the NHL is nothing new, with the Red Wings being one of the most recent examples.
If John Chayka is smart, he’ll put Nelson at the top of his list. If Nelson is smart, he’ll consider taking the job. Can’t blame the guy if it ends up happening.. He, of all coaches in the organization, earned it.