The Columbus Blue Jackets' coaching search is heating up.
The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson has been granted permission by the Vancouver Canucks to speak to Scott Arniel in regards to their vacant head coaching position.
The Dispatch is also reporting that Howson was given clearance by the Buffalo Sabres to speak to Kevin Dineen about the position.
Howson is reportedly ready to begin to interview candidates for the post this weekend.
Arniel, who has been behind the bench for the Canucks' AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose for the past four seasons. did not confirm that he had been approached by the Jackets, but stated that it was his intent to become a head coach in the NHL.
"If it's a situation that's right for my family, I'd definitely have to look into it," Arniel told The Dispatch. "Obviously, coaching in the NHL has been a dream of mine."
The Moose were bounced out of the AHL playoffs this past Sunday after falling to the Hamilton Bulldogs in six games.
The Atlanta Thrashers, New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning are all reportedly in the running for Arniel's services.
Meanwhile Dineen, a former Blue Jackets player and development coach, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Portland Pirates of the AHL. Neither Dineen nor Howson would comment on the report.
The Blue Jackets have been searching for a full time head coach since Ken Hitchcock was fired on Feb. 3. Claude Noel served as an interim head coach and he is expected to be granted an interview to take over full time.
According to the Dispatch, Howson will also likely look to interview Predators' associate coach Brent Peterson as well as Red Wings' assistant Paul MacLean as well as Hamilton Bulldogs' bench boss Guy Boucher.