Griffins coach Nelson to interview for Coyotes job

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Todd Nelson won a championship in the American League and it may help him land a coaching job in the NHL.

Nelson, who just coached Grand Rapids to a Calder Cup championship, will interview for the Arizona Coyotes’ head coaching opening.

The Coyotes and Dave Tippett parted ways last week.

Nelson, 48, has coached the Griffins the last two seasons, replacing Jeff Blashill after Blashill was promoted to Detroit when Mike Babcock left for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Nelson earned the praise of many young players on the Griffins, and those who’ve moved up to the Red Wings, for his ability to motivate and have the team prepared.

Incidentally, Nelson was the first player ever drafted by the Griffins in 1996 — and also was an assistant coach in Grand Rapids in 2002-03.

The Calder Cup championship, plus Nelson’s previous NHL experience — he was an interim coach for the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15 — could give Nelson an edge.

The Coyotes (30-42-10, 70 points) missed the playoffs last season and have let go of Tippett and popular longtime captain Shane Doan.

But Arizona did make major acquisitions last week in landing defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson — and might make more in the next week — to complement what is a promising young roster.

Among coaching candidates, the Coyotes could also be considering Columbus assistant coach Brad Shaw, a former player-coach on the Detroit Vipers when they won the Turner Cup in 1997, and longtime assistant with the St. Louis Blues.

Street stays with Wings

Center Ben Street signed a one-year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

Street, 30, joined the Wings as a restricted free agent in July 2016. He played in 62 games for the AHL champion Grand Rapids Griffins, and had 25 goals and 30 assists.

In the playoffs, Street had eight goals and 13 assists in 19 games for the Griffins.

Street has played in 35 NHL games with the Flames, Avalanche and Red Wings.