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Spencer Carbery Hired as Washington Capitals Head Coach

The Washington Capitals announced their head coaching replacement in Spencer Carbery late Tuesday morning.

Carbery entered coaching after a lengthy playing career in the ECHL. He was working in several managerial and coaching capacities with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. He would be transitioning into the AHL after a brief OHL stint with head coaching jobs in Hershey and Providence. Throughout the previous two seasons, Carbery held an assistant coaching role with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The upcoming 2023-24 season set to be Carbery’s first head coaching experience at the top level of professional hockey. At the age of 41, Carbery is officially the NHL’s youngest coach. He has a four-year deal reportedly in place signifying a longer-term focus for the Capitals.

Spencer Carbery Named Capitals Head Coach

In Toronto, Spencer Carbery garnered a level of popularity in his role as assistant. He was largely lauded for his revitalization of a surprisingly inconsistent Maple Leafs power-play core. Carbery increased general offensive zone movement. In addition low-to-high puck movement on the power-play, he enabled greater speed and advantages for players attacking the seam of the zone. They would attack the net while amplifying the power of their shots. This powerplay scheme furthered the flow of offensive generation on a more consistent basis.  A wide range of production between both power-play groups was because of him. Toronto’s power-play finished first in 2021-22 and second in 2022-23 (behind a league-record power-play in Edmonton). This was a  display of significant improvement from the previous system.

Brian MacLellan’s hiring of a new coach in Spencer Carbery is somewhat unique considering the recycling effect observed in teams firing and hiring coaches with oozing league experience, independent of their abilities and long-term results.  For the Capitals, promise exists within the tactical ideas hinted in the Leafs’ power-play improvements; namely, the increased sustainability and offensive flow in that powerplay which if applied to Washington at 5v5 could accelerate a required rebuild for the team.  Overall, Carbery’s hiring is reflective of a modern approach to offensive strategy, with the inherent freshness of his ideas in comparison to previous coach Peter Laviolette appealing long-term.

Main Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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