Capitals name Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery as head coach

The Washington Capitals named Spencer Carbery as their new head coach on Tuesday.

Carbery, 41, will receive a four-year deal, a source told ESPN.

"We are extremely pleased to name Spencer as our new head coach," senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "Spencer is one of the best young coaches in the game who's had success at every level at which he has coached. We feel his leadership, communication skills, ability to develop players and familiarity with our organization will be a tremendous asset as he makes this next step in his coaching career."

Carbery was one of the buzziest names on the coaching circuit, most recently serving as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs and running their power play. He now returns to the Capitals organization, where he came up through the ranks coaching for its ECHL and AHL affiliates.

"It's a tremendous honor and privilege to be named the head coach of the Washington Capitals," said Carbery in a statement. "I would like to thank the Capitals organization for affording me the opportunity to lead this team. I look forward to working with this group of talented players and building upon the winning culture in place. I would also like to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs organization for all their support over the past two years and wish them all the best in the future."

The Capitals parted with veteran coach Peter Laviolette this offseason after missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Laviolette's contract was not renewed after three seasons with the team; he has since interviewed for other vacancies in the Metropolitan Division, including with the New York Rangers.

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has promised captain Alex Ovechkin that the team will continue to chase Stanley Cups while he chases the NHL's all-time scoring record, though general manager Brian MacLellan has begun engineering a retool so the team can get younger.

The Capitals lost 440 man games to injury last season.

In eight years as a head coach at the pro level, Carbery's teams have finished below .500 just once. His best work yet was engineering a 17-game point streak in 2018-19 that took the AHL Hershey Bears from last place to the playoffs. He has been a quick riser after winning ECHL Coach of the Year (2014) and AHL Coach of the Year (2021). Washington wanted to keep him on, but Carbery took an assistant job with the Maple Leafs in 2021. Since Carbery took over running the power play, Toronto has the league's second-best man-up unit (behind Edmonton).