The Ottawa Senators and manager Bryan Murray are mutually interested in extending their business relationship. Murray is finishing out the final year of his contract and will be free of his commitments come July. While some have speculated that Murray, 71, is nearing retirement, the veteran manager apparently has the desire to remain in the game for at least one more season.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun wrote on Tuesday that the Senators and Murray are in the preliminary phases of a one-year contract extension. Team owner Eugene Melnyk confirmed that the two sides have been in discussion and expressed that he would like to see Murray go out on top, via the Ottawa Sun:
"We've had some preliminary talks," said Melnyk. "I would love to see (Murray) next year and he would love to finish off (his career) with a Stanley Cup and I would like to see him leave with a Stanley Cup.
"But those are still preliminary. We'll continue talking. We'll let them work out where they work out. Right now, he would like to stay and I would like him to stay. It's not a priority we've got some time (to get something done)."
An interesting dynamic to this negotiation is the vacant general manager positions available with the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. Ottawa's assistant general manager, Tim Murray, has been identified as a potential candidate for the opening in Buffalo with the Sabres asking for (and receiving) permission to speak to the younger Murray. Tim is the nephew of Bryan and is largely assumed to be Bryan's successor once he does decide to retire.
Tim has been identified as a superb talent evaluator, which makes him an attractive candidate as a future manager, via Silver Seven Sens:
I have always been a fan of Bryan Murray, even during the dark ages (TM), and he deserves oodles and oodles of credit for rebuilding and turning this team around. But alongside him every step of the way has been Tim. He has done a great job the last few years of luring quality veterans to Binghamton, and it is TIM who runs the scouting department with Pierre Dorian. He is an extremely good judge of talent.
The natural thing (unless things blow up in Sens Universe again) would be for Tim to take over as GM when his uncle retires. I just hope that happens before someone else scoops him up, because he's quite the catch.
Does a future extension for Bryan push Tim to pursue an immediate opportunity if it presents itself? Buffalo has requested permission to speak to several candidates and reports have yet to surface about Calgary's situation beyond interest in former Dallas Stars manager Joe Nieuwendyk.
From a speculative perspective, it seems unlikely that a one-year extension would push someone out of a comfortable situation. Of course, there are only 30 of these positions available in the world and it might be wise to jump on an opportunity once it's provided.