Source: OHL Rangers’ Peter DeBoer leading candidate for Senators head coaching job

The Hockey News has learned Kitchener Rangers coach Peter DeBoer has emerged as the leading candidate to become the next head coach of the Ottawa Senators and that a deal between the two parties could be announced as early as Friday.

When contacted by Wednesday morning for confirmation, DeBoer denied he was officially a member of the organization, saying only that he had been interviewed and that there was “nothing close.”

Senators GM Bryan Murray, when reached by phone, also flatly denied rumors a deal was in place.

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DeBoer met with Murray earlier this month regarding the job, and a source within the Senators organization confirmed DeBoer is the team’s choice to replace John Paddock as its full-time bench boss.

According to a report in the Ottawa Sun, DeBoer flew to Barbados Tuesday night to meet with owner Eugene Melnyk to negotiate a contract.

DeBoer, 39, compiled a 53-11-0-4 record and with the Rangers in 2007-08 and led the team to an OHL championship before losing to Spokane in the Memorial Cup final.