OTTAWA -- Bryan Murray's ray of hope for a fresh start next season will be to get Ray Emery out of town.
The goaltender will have to take his act elsewhere after the Ottawa Senators GM/coach said yesterday one of his top priorities will be to trade the 25-year-old or buy him out of the final two years of his $6.75-million contract.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Murray said he informed Emery in a meeting Wednesday he likely won't be back.
"I told (Emery) the plan right now would be to investigate possible options for him," said Murray. "Meaning, we're going to see if there's another team that would be willing to make a trade. I don't know that he was a total distraction or not. The fact that he didn't play down the stretch and in the playoffs, but that was a result of him not playing as well as he did a year ago.
"He didn't commit to the team the way a player has to commit. We'll investigate all options. Buyouts and other things are topics for another day. I've just got to find out if there is a team looking and then trying to make the best deal that I can."
Sources say the Sens tried to move Emery to the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season. Both backed away, mostly because of issues with Emery being late for practice and struggles to refind his game last season.
Sun Media has also learned Emery has parted ways with agent J.P. Barry. Sources say Barry was no longer interested in being his advisor since his client stopped listening to him not long after he signed a three-year contract last summer.
There's a clause in the CBA that allows the Sens to buy Emery out at one-third ($2.25 million) of the remainder of his contract. The cap hit can be spread over four years.
"If I tell you I am going to buy him out, why would anybody trade for him?," Murray asked.
Since Emery won't be back, Murray will likely try to make a move for another goalie.
"Martin Gerber is fine. He showed that in the playoffs," said Murray. "If there's another goalie available, and we can get a quality guy and make the right deal to acquire, we'll certainly do that."
Murray won't be dealing Jason Spezza or Dany Heatley. Both have long-term contracts that kick in next year and the club's plan hasn't changed.
"We made a commitment to them in the fall," said Murray. "We want to go forward with them as part of the core of this hockey and that is the plan at the moment ... Good teams lose in the first round every year, so I'm not going to discard players like these two people. They didn't have a great playoff. They were spoken to yesterday and they had answers."