Todd Nelson officially named Griffins coach

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Todd Nelson becomes the 10th coach in Griffins' history.

Detroit — Todd Nelson has played and been an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Now, Nelson has added another title.

Nelson was named nead coach of the Red Wings' minor league affiliate Friday, replacing Jeff Blashill.

Blashill replaced Mike Babcock as Red Wings coach earlier this month, after Babcock left for the Toronto Maple Leafs in May.

Nelson, 46, becomes the 10th head coach in Griffins' history.

Last season, Nelson split time between Oklahoma City (AHL) and Edmonton. After replacing the fired Dallas Eakins, Nelson led the Oilers to a 17-25-9 record in 51 games in his first opportunity at the NHL level.

Nelson, a defenseman, was the first player ever signed by the Griffins on July 24, 1996 and had 67 points (11 goals, 56 assists) in 236 games in Grand Rapids.

Nelson began his coaching career in 2002-03 as an assistant in Grand Rapids, helping the Griffins reach the Western Conference Finals.

The following season Nelson became a head coach at Muskegon, and promptly led the Fury to United League championships in 2004 and 2005.

Nelson returned to the AHL from 2006-08 as an assistant in Chicago before becoming an assistant coach with Atlanta in the NHL in 2009-11.

He's been the head coach at Oklahoma City the last four seasons.

Nelson has a 176-111-12-34 record as an AHL head coach.

He and his wife, Josette, have a son, Colton, and a daughter, Kyleigh.

The Red Wings will likely name assistant coaches for Blashill early next week.

Tony Granato will be one of the two assistants. Chris Chelios has been named a part-time coach working with defensemen.