On the Ray out

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Bryan Murray's got ex-Ray vision.

Senators goaltender Ray Emery will almost certainly have to take his act elsewhere next season. Murray confirmed yesterday one of his top priorities is trading the 25-year-old troublemaker or buying out the final two years of his $6.75-million (all terms US) contract.

Speaking at the club's wrap-up news conference with owner Eugene Melnyk and president Roy Mlakar, Murray revealed that he informed Emery in a meeting Wednesday the goalie likely won't be back.

"I told (Emery) the plan right now would be to investigate possible options for him," said the Senators GM. "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 ... 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 try to make the best deal that I can."

Sources say the Senators tried to trade Emery to the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season. Both teams were interested, but backed away, mostly because of Emery's issues with being late for practice and his poor play.

Not only is Emery's NHL career in jeopardy, the Sun has learned he has parted ways with agent J.P. Barry of CAA Sports. Sources say Barry was no longer interested in being Emery's adviser when his client stopped listening soon after signing a three-year contract last summer.

$2.25M HIT

As first reported by the Sun in March, there's a clause in the collective bargaining agreement that allows the Senators to buy out Emery at one-third ($2.25 million) of the remainder of his contract. The cap hit can be spread over four years, which amounts to just $562,500 per season.

"If I tell you I am going to buy him out, why would anybody trade for him?" asked Murray.

Martin Gerber will likely start next season as the No. 1 goalie. Murray will try to acquire another goalie or use prospect Brian Elliott as the backup. The latter isn't ideal, as Murray wants Elliott to start the season with Binghamton of the AHL.

"Martin Gerber is fine. He showed that in the playoffs," said Murray. "We'll see what happens with Ray Emery. We've got Brian Elliott coming. I'd like him to start in the minors and play 30 games in a row. 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 also all but ruled out rumours that either Dany Heatley -- who's set to become the highest-paid Senator at $10 million next season -- or Jason Spezza (the second-highest at $8 million) will be dealt for Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.

"We made a commitment to (Heatley and Spezza) in the fall," said Murray. "We want to go forward with them as part of the core of this hockey team 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."


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