COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The Columbus Blue Jackets have interviewed seven candidates to become the expansion team's first coach, with a decision expected this week.

The seven are: former Calgary head coaches Brian Sutter and Dave King, Colorado assistant Bryan Trottier, Detroit associate coach Dave Lewis, Los Angeles assistant Dave Tippett, Buffalo assistant Don Lever, former Edmonton head coach Ron Low and Philadelphia minor league coach Bill Barber.

Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean had wanted to have a coach before the expansion and entry drafts this past weekend in Calgary.

``I would have preferred to name a coach before the expansion draft,'' MacLean said. ``But the workload picked up so much at the trade deadline, with the Stanley Cup ending and with the 48-hour trade deadline, and I just became too busy.''

Trottier and Lever have been said to be the front-runners on a list that includes three former NHL head coaches and four others who are ex-players with extensive assistant coaching experience.

``I think my big decision is, which way do I go?'' MacLean said. ``Do I go with a veteran or do I go with the new, younger guy, the less experienced guy?''