Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery lands Capitals' head coaching job

The former Maple Leafs assistant coach has landed a head-coaching gig after two years of running Toronto's power play.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery has earned his first head coaching job at the NHL level with the Washington Capitals, the team announced Tuesday.

The 41-year-old saw his name pop up in all kinds of rumours after the Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Florida Panthers, but returned to an organization he worked for from 2018 to 2021 as the head coach of the the Hershey Bears — the Capitals' AHL affiliate. Carbery is reportedly signing a four-year contract.

Not only are the Capitals bringing a person they are familiar and comfortable with into the fold, their new bench boss has put together a solid resume over the past few years.

In his two seasons in Toronto, Carbery's been at the helm of a power play that's scored at a 26.6% rate — making it the second-best unit in the NHL. In 2021-22 and 2022-23, the Maple Leafs had their two best power-play percentages in franchise history.

Carbery had some elite offensive talent to work with, but the Maple Leafs had never topped 23.8% in the Auston Matthews era and ranked 16th in the NHL in power-play success rate the year before he arrived.

Prior to his work with Toronto, Carbery built an excellent resume as an AHL head coach, putting up a 104-50-9-8 record and winning the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in 2021, which recognized him as the league's most outstanding coach that season. He won another Coach of the Year award at the ECHL level in 2014.

Toronto Maple Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery is in the mix for several open NHL head coaching jobs. (Getty)
Former Maple Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery is the new bench boss in Washington. (Getty)

Carbery will take over a Capitals team that just went 35-37-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013-14. While Washington has been a postseason staple in recent years, the squad hasn't won a round since its Stanley Cup Final victory in 2017-18.

The Capitals hope Carbery can change that and squeeze the best possible results out of the end of the Alex Ovechkin era. His power-play chops should come in handy, as the team had the 16th-best scoring rate with the man advantage in 2022-23 despite having Ovechkin's deadly shot as a trump card.

While Carbery spent three years coaching Washington's AHL team, that squad did not graduate many players to the NHL club, so he won't have coached many of his current players before. The only players on the Capitals roster with extensive time under Carbery are Alex Alexeyev, Martin Fehervary, and Aliaksei Protas.