The Ray Emery era appears to be over in Ottawa.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray indicated today that he intends to move forward into the 2008-09 season without the goaltender who backstopped the team to the Stanley Cup final just a year ago.
"My plan right now is not to have him back," Murray said during a season-ending news conference at Scotiabank Place earlier today.
Murray has told Emery, who fell out of favour with the Senators during this season -- Martin Gerber was the clear No. 1 goaltender by season's end -- that he'll seek to trade him to another National Hockey League team. The Senators can also buy out the remaining two years of his contract before the end of June, but Murray said that's not the priority at the moment.
"I told (Emery) yesterday that the plan right now would be to investigate possible options for him, meaning look to see if there's another team that is willing to make a trade," said Murray.
"I hope I can do something for him. It's hard for me to state here today what exactly will happen. I'd like to think he's an NHL-calibre goaltender. I know he is, I know he showed that a year ago. I hope there's a team out there that will give him a look and talk to us about it."
After undergoing off-season wrist surgery, Emery was never able to regain the form that he showed in the run to the Cup final last season. Gerber supplanted him as the starting goaltender at the season's outset and played the final 17 games of the regular season after Murray relieved John Paddock of his coaching duties. Gerber also played every minute of the Senators' playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Emery, meanwhile, was sent home by Paddock after showing up late for practice twice this season. On the second occasion, he was fined by Murray.
"I don't know whether he was a total distraction (to the team) or not," said Murray. "But the fact that he didn't play down the stretch and didn't play in the playoffs, that was a result of not playing as well as he played a year ago.
"He didn't, in my opinion, commit to the team in the way we think our players have to commit."
Murray is prepared to enter next season with Gerber as his starter and suggested Brian Elliott, who toiled with the Binghamton Senators this season, might assume the backup role. An off-season trade or free-agent signing of another goaltender is also possible.
"I think Martin Gerber is fine. He showed that in the playoffs," said Murray. "We have Brian Elliott coming, who I'd like to start (next season) in the minors and play 30 games in a row. I think he's ready to be an NHL goaltender.
"If there's another goaltender that's available that we think is a quality guy and we can make the right deal to acquire, we'll certainly do that."