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 THN.com 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.
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.