Murray steps up search for coach

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- Bryan Murray has started the interview process for the club's next coach.

The Senators' new GM said yesterday he's had a telephone discussion with one candidate and will set up more meetings during this weekend's NHL draft.

Murray said he plans to meet with Senators assistant coach John Paddock, who is considered the front-runner for the post, along with "two or three" more candidates from a list of five he put together before coming to Columbus.

"I'm going talk to (Paddock) when he gets in and rehash some of our thoughts," said Murray. "Hopefully, I can have a little bit of time with one or two people at least. I might interview three or four candidates at the most."

It's believed Dale Hunter (London, OHL), Randy Cunneyworth (Rochester, AHL) and Peter DeBoer (Kitchener, OHL) are on the club's list. They'll all likely be interviewed.

"I've spoken with a number of people and tried to find out who the best candidates are," said Murray.

Former New Jersey coach Claude Julien was considered, but he's agreed to a deal with the Bruins. Don't expect former Toronto coach Pat Quinn to be a candidate.

Murray said he looked at Ottawa assistant coach Greg Carvel for the job, but believes he needs more coaching experience.

"He just needs a little more time and I told him that. He's an excellent coach," said Murray.

STUDY THE NET: There could be a number of goaltending changes around the NHL in the next few days. As GMs arrived here yesterday for the draft, trade talk heated up and most was centred around what teams are going to do in net. Several teams -- Boston, Florida, Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa and Toronto -- are among a group seeking an upgrade at the position and there will be plenty on the market if you listen to the talk swirling here:

- Manny Fernandez, Minnesota: The Wild gave Niklas Backstrom a new contract, which means the club is going to try rid itself of Fernandez. He's slated to make $9.25 million (all terms US) over the next two seasons. The Bruins, Coyotes and Leafs have shown interest. GM Doug Risebrough is asking for a king's ransom. It's believed the Coyotes offered D Nick Boynton.

- Vesa Toskala, San Jose: He was nearly sent to the Senators at last year's draft for W Martin Havlat, but former GM John Muckler kept trying to squeeze too much out of the Sharks. Toskala, who will make $1.375 million in 2007-08, can become an UFA at the end of the season. The Sharks would like to land a blueliner for Toskala.

- Martin Gerber, Ottawa: Making $3.75 million next season, everybody knows what happened in Ottawa. The Kings and Coyotes have shown an interest. The Coyotes might take a chance if Ottawa is willing to take D Derek Morris and his $3.9 salary off their hands.

- Tim Thomas, Boston: If Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is going to bring in a netminder, he's got to get rid of one. Hannu Toivonen is signed next season for around $500,000. Thomas, who makes $1 million, would be a capable backup and could be headed for San Jose in a possible deal for Toskala.

OFF THE GLASS: Trying to shed salary after signing D Kimmo Timonen and W Scott Hartnell, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren wants to move some bodies. Ideally, he'd like to move D Joni Pitkanen ($2 million), D Denis Gauthier ($2.1 million) and LW Geoff Sanderson ($1.5 million). Sources say Sanderson and Pitkanen are being shopped hard. The Oilers have a strong interest in Pitkanen, who will be a UFA at the end of next season. It's believed 15 teams have shown an interest in Pitkanen. The Flyers would like to clear off money so they can take a run a New Jersey C Scott Gomez ... The Panthers are trying to move D Steve Montador. He made $500,000 and will be a restricted free agent July 1.


Videos

Photos