02/23/2024

BUF:

2

CBJ:

1

Final

WPG:

3

CHI:

2

Final

MIN:

4

EDM:

2

Final

02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

MTL:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

VGK:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

MIN:

0

08:00 ET

OTT:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

STL:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

LAK:

0

CGY:

0

09:00 ET

DAL:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

PIT:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

NJD:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

Washington’s Summer So Far

Members of the Washington Capitals are coached by Peter Laviolette during a practice during the 2022-23 season.
Members of the Washington Capitals are coached by Peter Laviolette at a practice during the 2022-23 season. Photo via NoVa Caps Fans

The Washington Capitals are in the middle of the franchise’s longest summer in nine years. The team’s season came to an official end on April 13th but had been emotionally over since the fourth. General Manager Brian MacLellan has had a lot to consider before Free Agency opens at noon today.

The first task on MacLellan’s agenda was to find a new head coach after Peter Laviolette agreed to part ways with the club on April 14. Three days later, long-time assistant coaches Blaine Forsythe and Kevin McCarthy also left the organization. The coaching search took a month and a half, concluding on May 30 with the announcement of Spencer Carbery as the new head coach. Carbery left the Toronto Maple Leafs to accept the position.

Carbery had been part of the Capitals’ greater development system for the better part of the last decade. He spent eight total years with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, which was Washington’s ECHL affiliate when he first landed there as a player in the 2008-09 season. He became head coach and Director of Hockey Operations of the Stingrays for the 2011-12 season and stayed there until 2015-16. He returned to the Capitals system two years later as the head coach of the Hershey Bears, serving from 2018 to 2021.

Though this will be Carbery’s first time as the helmsman of an NHL team, he has a history of success. He has been recognized as his league’s premier coach during his time in both the ECHL and AHL. When he won the AHL’s Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in 2020-21, the Bears posted the league’s best regular-season record. There was no Calder Cup Playoff that season.

Three weeks after hiring Carbery, the team found an assistant coach with a congruently compelling track record: Mitch Love. Love is also a Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award honoree–twice. As head coach for the Calgary Flames’ affiliate, he posted a combined 96-33-8-3 record. Love will focus on Washington’s defensemen, a position he has shown strength at. The Calgary Wranglers–successor to the Stockton Heat–were the AHL’s best penalty-killing team last season and also had the lowest goals-against per-game average.

The new coaches have met before, according to Capitals team reporter Mike Vogel, at a Hockey Canada coaching event. They also briefly discussed players who were looking to transition from the WHL, where Love coached for the Everett Silvertips, to the ECHL, while Carbery was in charge of the Stingrays.

Perhaps more importantly, Carbery and Love will be familiar with a few players in the Capitals’ system. Love coached 2019 first-round draftee Connor McMichael for two consecutive World Junior Under-20 Championships with Team Canada. While with Hershey, Carbery worked with McMichael as well as several other prospects. Martin Fehervary, Alex Alexeyev, and Aliaksei Protas saw the most NHL time among the players who would have been guided by Carbery from 2018 to 2021.

With the coaching staff in place, Washington’s front office turned its attention to the more distant future during the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The Capitals made six selections, picking up two centers, a goalie, a defenseman, and one winger for each side. Right winger Ryan Leonard highlights the draft class. The eighth overall pick was ranked as the fifth-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and his NHL comparables include Zach Hyman, Matt Tkachuk, and Tom Wilson. More about him can be found here.

The Capitals’ newest draft selections will join dozens of other prospects for Development Camp in Arlington, Virginia on July 1-5. The camp will also be the new coaching staff’s Washington debuts.

Things could continue to change for the team once free agency opens. Connor Brown, who only played four games due to an ACL injury, will be able to receive & consider offers from any club. MacLellan tendered qualifying offers to retain the RFA rights of Henrik Borgstrom, Martin Fehervary, and Riley Sutter. Before taking into account the possible contracts those three could sign, Washington has about $7.3 million dollars in projected salary cap space.

The team made four minor signings in late April and early May to increase its depth. Two Russian players are the most notable among those signings. Alexeyev re-signed for two years at less than a million per year. Forward Ivan Miroshnichenko, the team’s 2022 first-round draft pick, agreed to an entry-level contract on May 1. Veteran Michael Sgarbossa signed a two-way deal for two years on May 8; his experience across North America at both the NHL and AHL levels will be a great resource for Hershey and a solid option if Washington needs him to fill in at Capital One Arena.

The Capitals should have a lot to be positive about when they open the 2023-24 season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 13.

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