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Report: Coyotes receive permission to interview Todd Nelson for head coach

Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish, right, shouts instructions to Oilers players as soon-to-be interim head coach Todd Nelson, left, watches the action on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Todd Nelson, the coach of the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, has been granted permission by his parent team to interview for the Arizona Coyotes’ head coaching vacancy, according to Detroit Free Press reporter Helene St. James.

Nelson had been linked to the post formerly filled by Dave Tippett, but Coyotes general manager John Chayka said this weekend the reports were premature as the team continued to build a list of candidates.

“We’ll have a small group of names, a real small group at this stage, and then just try and be efficient moving forward,” Chayka told Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan.

Chayka said youth is not an overriding prerequisite.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, but with our younger players, we do want a communicator; somebody that does engage and have that relational type of approach to coaching.”

The 48-year-old Nelson went 44-30-2 with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2015-16 before putting together a 47-23-1 record leading into a 15-4 playoff run this year, which included a Calder Cup victory.

Nelson has 51 games of experience as Edmonton Oilers interim coach in the 2014-15 season.

Arizona parted ways with Tippett on Thursday.

While they search for a head coach, the Coyotes announced Tuesday that they had parted ways with associate coach Jim Playfair.

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