Pittsburgh permitted to interview Oilers’ Nelson about AHL gig

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Looks like Todd Nelson might get his desired head coaching gig after all.

Nelson, who finished last year as the interim bench boss in Edmonton, has been granted permission by the Oilers to interview for Pittsburgh’s AHL gig in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pens GM Jim Rutherford told the Tribune-Review.

Nelson, 46, was replaced in Edmonton by Todd McLellan, who was officially hired last month. While it was believed the Oilers wanted to retain Nelson — possibly as McLellan’s assistant — various reports said Nelson was chiefly interested in securing another head coaching gig, be it at the NHL or AHL level.

A return to the American League would make sense (the Wilkes-Barre job has been vacant since John Hynes was hired by the Devils). Nelson enjoyed a fair amount of success with Oklahoma City prior to taking the Edmonton job, taking the Barons to the Calder Cup playoffs four straight times from 2011 to 2014.

Nelson also has ties to the Pittsburgh organization. The Pens took him in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, and he later went on to appear in one NHL contest for the team.

Per the Trib, the Penguins won’t be required to send a compensatory pick to Edmonton if they hire Nelson.