The Pages Of Oilers Jambalaya

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dallas Eakins and Todd Nelson to trade positions?

Ok, before i am crucified for starting a ridiculous rumour and everybody starts freaking out, let me explain. Is it even possible that the Oilers organization could actually flip these two coaches? I have searched the Internet and tried to find if this rumour has been swirling anywhere. I did not come up with this idea on my own. In fact, last night after speaking with someone who is a little more in the know, I started to examine the thought of this as a potential possibility. This is someone that has been involved in hockey for sometime (including the coaching fraternity). There is a lot of reasons why this makes no sense at all and lots of reasons why this could be a really good idea. I am not stating this as a legitimate rumour but wanting to at least examine this closer.

Let's examine the pros and cons and the information that has occurred over the last couple years before just tossing this possibility aside.

Jonathan Willis has a interesting read on OKC Barons bench Boss Todd Nelson

While I agree with Jonathan that adding Nelson to the current staff could be a good thing, Todd Nelson himself in a article written by Ryan Dittrick would prefer Head Coaching in the AHL to being a assistant in the NHL as he has already been a assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers.

To further add to Ryan's interview with Todd Nelson. Robert TychKowski also quoted Todd nelson but only after he was not selected for the Oilers Head Job. In this interview he speaks about opportunity and it does not sound like a coach who wants to take a couple years as a assistant coach in the NHL for only a maybe position.

Where does that leave us since MacT has gone on record as saying Dallas Eakins is not going away? Terry Jones reports on this.

Mike Baldwin, a reporter in OKC when interviewing Todd Nelson himself, quoted much of the same as our local guys except does mention the possibility in a couple years as working as a assistant coach.

Enough on the articles written. What are some common threads we are hearing or seeing on this team and around the city of Edmonton and in behind closed doors that leaks still seem to come out from?

What do we know? Dallas Eakins has seen this team's Powerplay drop significantly with a even better team this season then the previous. The team has dropped significantly in the standings looking to have taken a step backwards once again. We also know Barons head coach Nelson has continually had to deal with his best players being called up to Edmonton and at crucial times in the season. With the Oilers it seems just when their is a push for the AHL playoffs each year, they end up with a string of injuries or Nelson contends with those injuries on his AHL team. Bottom line? Nelson has an established track record with 50% of the Oilers NHL team and is known to be well respected and liked among them all.

You always hear rumours that can not really be substantiated. The young players party too much! The players have tuned out Dallas Eakins and do not respect him to get the best out of their game. The argument you hear to that is the NHL player is a professional and needs to be self motivated and shouldn't need a coach to pull the best out of him.

My take? I am sure Dallas is a wonderful person and even a really good coach. I just don't think that he is the right coach. From the moment he walked into this job, we heard how he was going to change this team. Their fitness level was too be intensified and their compete level was to be through the roof. In fact he really did IMO come off as arrogant and rude and his comments insinuated to me he was saying the last couple coach's did not demand that or couldn't teach that. Also he didn't really seem to know the players well enough of who has brought what to this organization with their gifts and talents. Even his systems play were truly flawed that he insisted would work and gave the reasons why.

Has Dallas learned on the fly? Absolutely and while I do think it's time we just quit firing coaches, I really did disagree we should have fired Ralph at all. Renney before him was a firing that happened to save Tambo's job for the following season. Tamby made Renney his scapegoat!

My take now? It's a tough decision to make and a tough pill for MacT to swallow if he were to replace his head coach but IMO if we are to bring in a young up and coming coach from the AHL, it should be from within the organization not from another one. At least we know what we have from within and it does look good.

Could Nelson accept a Assistant job? It's possible, anything is possible. If Todd does come in as assistant, you know at least a couple assistants are on their way out. What is most likely? I think Chabot and Bucky are on their way out.

However, what if Todd nelson were to take the Head Coaching job of the Edmonton Oilers should it be offered by MacT? What would happen with Dallas Eakins and the remaining part of his contract? The scoop I was told is Dallas gets sent to OKC to take on the Barons. I can hear some people right now saying 'no way!' Dallas didn't come to Edmonton to return back to the AHL. Maybe not but he also didn't perform and to me doesn't sound like a guy who is very accountable for his many mistakes as a rookie head coach. What happens to a player who under performs? He loses his job outright or gets demoted. They are paying Dallas so sending him to hone his skills within their AHL team isn't the end of the world. Eakins benches players when they under perform maybe it's time to do the same?

Not for a minute do I claim to know what WILL happen but this rumour could have some validity to it but only time will tell. In the meantime and in between time, that's it…for another edition of 'Oilers Jambalaya"


  1. We have two assistant's that are as good as Eakins. You keep him, we do not want him. The Barons players that have gone up have done a great job for you guys, but it seems that your training is so bad that you constantly are hurt and we have to bail you out.

  2. Unfortunately you may very well be right. It's a tough game of business and it seems someone always pays the price. One of the things that has always bothered me about building fan support for a farm team in the AHL is fielding a competitive team while still developing and giving opportunity to the players who deserve a shot at the NHL club. I totally am enamoured with the OKC Baron fans and their commitment to their team. May not be large in number at games but definitely strong support from those who call themselves fans.

    My actual hope is Dallas is just bought out and Nelson comes up and one of the assistants on OKC take over for Todd. That's just my opinion and is not worth its weight in Gold…lol

  3. The words coming out of some peoples mouths in the comments are very questionable. For one if there were to be a coaching change it would be with the assistants. I could see Todd Nelson being an assistant coach next year in the NHL however see him swapping positions with Dallas Eakins lets be realistic that will never happen in real life. 2. You can't keep hiring and firing coaches and expect results instantly it just doesn't work that way. You need your players to buy into the system or else your going to fail. You also can't teach a system in one year it takes time to build and the way I look at it the Oilers have been playing much better hockey since the Ben Scrivens 59 save performance. And thats because the players are buying into the system.

    So to get to the point Dallas Eakins isn't leaving and Todd Nelson might leave to pursuit other opportunities as a coach.

  4. Fair comments. While I agree we can't keep changing coaches, we had improvements with the previous 2 coaches but they lost their jobs more due to management not improvement. Pat Quinn and now Dallas Eakins have been the one's lacking in what they are able to do with this team. It should also be noted Dallas Eakins has had the most to work with and yet produced the least. Learning a new system? If you read one of the articles written interviewing Todd Nelson from Cult of Hockey, he explains the systems that are used. Basically there is not as big a difference as some people actually think in what is required.

    I personally don't see how they change a coach again but if they do, the only logical one to make is hiring Todd Nelson as he knows the players and most know him and his systems play. Todd does not over complicate play on the ice. If MacT were to change Dallas out, it is very likely a huge sign of his humility cause he has a lot of pride and to say he made a mistake would be huge. For this fan and blogger? I am ok for one last year of coaching change if management is willing to admit they made a mistake.

    I know not all agree with me and look at the players but how many of us in our places of work under perform when working under a manager or foreman etc…who causes you stress or is a micro-manager and doesn't know how to bring the best out of you. That's my opinion on the new coaching change and how it has affected this team.

    Having said since Ben's 59 save performance the team has played much better, I would have to say, I don't see it the same way. The only thing that I have seen is improvement on the blue line due to Marincin play. Klefbom while still learning has looked good back there except the odd mistake here and there. The play of Yakupov before he left with a injury was starting to show a much better 200 foot game and reuniting the last three games the Hall/RNH/Eberle line has made a huge difference. Other then that, I see very little difference.

  5. If Edmonton had not fired so many coaches in the last 8 years, Eakins would be gone.

    Looks like Oilers will probably get the #4 pick. So it looks like Draisaitl

  6. I expect the pick 3rd still in the end after tomorrow and then still pick Leon Draisaitl


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