CALGARY - Darryl Sutter says he's the best man right now to coach the Calgary Flames, but he's looking at other candidates before he makes his final decision.
Four days after the Flames announced the firing of Mike Keenan, Calgary's general manager told reporters he wants to have a new head coach in place by the NHL entry draft June 26-27 in Montreal.
"Right now I'm the best one," Sutter said when asked when he was in the running for the head-coaching job.
"All the best coaches in the league are under contract.
"There's three guys who are excellent. I won't tell you who they are, but then I'm fourth.
"If I find out at the end of the search that I think I'm the best candidate, then I am the coach."
Sutter joined the Flames as head coach Dec. 28, 2002 and added general manager to his job description less than four months later. He coached the Flames to the Stanley Cup final in 2004.
After the 2005-06 season, he stepped out from behind the bench and promoted Jim Playfair from assistant to head coach.
Playfair was moved to associate coach when Keenan came on board in 2007.
After four straight exits in the first round of playoffs, and the last two under Keenan, Sutter's next choice for a head coach will be critical.
Playfair has been offered the coaching job with the Flames' new AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, B.C.
Assistant coaches Rob Cookson and Rich Preston and goaltending coach David Marcoux will not be offered contract extensions when their deals expire June 30, Sutter said.