Buchberger and Smith named assistant coaches by Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON – A couple of former Oilers will back up Tom Renney in his first season as Edmonton head coach.

The team has appointed Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith assistant coaches. Buchberger is a former Oilers captain while Smith was drafted by Edmonton and played there for six seasons.

Buchberger, 43, spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Oilers under Pat Quinn and Craig MacTavish. Prior to that he was head coach of the Springfield Falcons in the AHL.

Smith, 47, spent the past two years as a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Steve was an integral part of the Oilers on the blue-line,” Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said in a release Thursday. “He will be playing an important role in developing our young defence group.”

Smith also served as an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames during the 1997-98 season but elected to return to the ice playing three more seasons with the Flames before retiring.

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Renney was named head coach last month after the club decided to move Quinn into an advisory role.

The Oilers also named Todd Nelson head coach of their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.

Nelson, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers, is the Barons’ first head coach since the club became Edmonton’s farm club.

“Todd has demonstrated a winning record and attitude throughout his professional career and we know that he will be a very valuable asset mentoring and developing our players in Oklahoma City,” said Tambellini.

Gerry Fleming, who was an assistant coach with the Springfield Falcons the last two seasons, will continue the same role under Nelson.

The Oilers also signed defenceman Theo Peckham to a one-year contract. The 22-year-old played 15 games last season with Edmonton, collecting an assist and 43 penalty minutes.