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

Peter DeBoer of the Kitchener Rangers shouts out some orders to his players against the Spokane Chiefs in a Memorial Cup round robin game on May 18, 2008. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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Peter DeBoer of the Kitchener Rangers shouts out some orders to his players against the Spokane Chiefs in a Memorial Cup round robin game on May 18, 2008. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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