May 21, 2024

Capitals add Pacioretty, coach Carbery in bid to get back to playoffs

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2023-24 regular season, which starts Oct. 10. Today, the Washington Capitals 


2022-23 season: 35-37-10, sixth in Metropolitan Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs


Key arrivals

Max Pacioretty, F: A six-time 30-goal scorer, Pacioretty signed a one-year contract July 1 and is expected to play on one of the top two lines. The 34-year-old was limited to three goals in five regular-season games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season because he tore his Achilles tendon during offseason training and again Jan. 19. … Joel Edmundson, D: The 30-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on July 1 for a third- and seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to fill Washington’s need for a defenseman who can help clear the front of the net. Edmundson was hampered by a back injury last season but played in Montreal’s final 22 games and finished with 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 61 games, averaging 19:34 of ice time. … Spencer Carbery, coach: The 41-year-old was hired May 30 to replace Peter Laviolette after two seasons as an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Carbery was 104-50-9-8 in three seasons as coach of Hershey, Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate, before joining Toronto.

Video: The crew on the Capitals offseason outlook


Key departures

Conor Sheary, F: Signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 1. Sheary was the only player to play in all 82 games for Washington last season and had 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists). … Matt Irwin, D: Signed a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1 after having five points (two goals, three assists) and averaging 13:02 in ice time in 61 games last season. … Craig Smith, F: Signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1. Smith had six points (five goals, one assist) in 22 games with the Capitals after being acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins on Feb. 23. … Peter Laviolette, coach: Hired as coach of the New York Rangers on June 13. Washington was 115-78-27 in three seasons under Laviolette. With his contract expiring, Laviolette informed the Capitals he would not return April 14 after they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.


On the cusp

Alexander Alexeyev, D: The 23-year-old will likely begin the season as the Capitals’ seventh defenseman. He had five assists and averaged 16:27 of ice time in 32 games last season after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. … Hendrix Lapierre, F: The 21-year-old will compete for a job in training camp and will be a call-up option if sent to Hershey. After scoring one goal in six games with Washington at the start of 2021-22, Lapierre played last season with Hershey, finishing with 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 60 regular-season games and six points (three goals, three assists) in 20 playoff games to help it win the Calder Cup. … Ivan Miroshnichenko, F: Selected by Washington in the first round (No. 20) of the 2022 NHL Draft, Miroshnichenko is expected to need some time in the AHL to adjust to the North American game but could be called up later in the season. The 19-year-old, who is cancer-free after being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2022, had four points (three goals, one assists) in 23 games with Omsk in the Kontinental Hockey League last season. …  Vincent Iorio, D: The 20-year-old made his NHL debut last season, finishing with one assist in three games for the Capitals, and could be ready for more. As a first-year pro with Hershey last season, Iorio had 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 63 regular-season games and five points (one goal, four assists) in 15 playoff games.


What they still need

General manager Brian MacLellan said July 2 he will continue to try to acquire another top-six forward, preferably someone 25-30 years old, in a trade prior to the season. Adding depth to the top two lines was one of Washington’s objectives this offseason, and with Pacioretty expected to miss the start of the season while recovering, adding another scoring forward would help. 


They said it

“We were open to (trade) possibilities, pursued a number of things, but unfortunately [they] didn’t come through for us. So, we were looking to add a top-six forward through free agency, which we did with Pacioretty, and we’ll continue to monitor the trade market.” — general manager Brian MacLellan


Fantasy focus

Despite dealing with injuries over the past three seasons, Pacioretty has been around a point-per-game player and has major fantasy bounce-back appeal this season. Pacioretty had 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 39 games for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021-22 and 51 points (24 goals, 27 assists) in 48 games for them in 2020-21. He has solid production potential on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie in addition to seeing time on the top power-play unit. — Anna Dua


Projected lineup

Alex OvechkinDylan StromeTom Wilson

Max Pacioretty — Evgeny Kuznetsov – T.J. Oshie

Connor McMichael — Nicklas Backstrom — Anthony Mantha

Aliaksei ProtasNic DowdSonny Milano

Martin FehervaryJohn Carlson

Rasmus SandinNick Jensen

Joel Edmundson — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper

Charlie Lindgren

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