Near the top of Bryan Murray's list of things to do this summer is, as it should be, a contract conversation with a guy who isn't eligible to become a free agent for a year.

The way coaching jobs become available in the NHL these days, the Senators want to make sure they satisfy the fastest rising star of the fraternity.

"One of the topics I've got on my agenda going forward is the coaching staff," Murray said at his season-ending news conference Tuesday when asked about "husky" Paul MacLean. "I haven't asked him what he wants. I'd like to tell him what he's getting. I'm sure he's going to have part of the conversation, but it's a conversation we have to have for sure and good for him. I think that staff has done a real fine job for us."

Given the way the Senators made the playoffs despite long-term injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Jared Cowen and Milan Michalek, no other has been better.

MacLean signed up Dave Cameron and Mark Reeds as his primary assistants when, on June 14, 2011, he stuck his foot in the turnstile that had been spitting out Ottawa bench bosses. In his first season on the job at this level, he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the coach "adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success" by the NHL's Broadcasters' Association.

He lost to Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues but now, one year later, MacLean fully deserves the nod over Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks.

"Meeting with the players (Monday), the conversations I had with them was real good feedback," said Murray. "A lot of the younger players in particular but some of the veterans as well ... a guy like Sergei Gonchar ... indicated that they're interested in staying here if they could (because) they were all treated first class by the organization, they were treated very well by the coaching staff (that) allowed them to be competitive almost every game and they had a little bit of fun doing it as well. Those are the issues players want to hear and they want to be part of."