Grading the overall coaching of the Capitals at season's end

Time to grade Spencer Carbery's first year in DC
Spencer Carbery, Washington Capitals
Spencer Carbery, Washington Capitals / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals may have gotten swept in the first round but the fact that they even got there should be applauded. That's in large part to the top where Spencer Carbery, the league's youngest coach, guided the Caps back to the playoffs after they completely missed the year before.

Carbery should be in the conversation for Jack Adams just for that alone. A -37 goal differrential looks bad on paper and it was. But the Caps ironically kept up with the Rangers at five on five while completley gassed out at special teams.

The penalty kill got better. The power play still needs work. But the penalty kill was banged up wtih no Rasmus Sandin or Nick Jensen till the very end of the series. The Caps also lost Vincent Iorio and Trevor van Riemsdyk to injury which made the PK worse in addition to the defense against a younger and faster New York offense.

The Capitals got back in the playoffs because of the culture in the locker room that Carbery helped recatipulte. Now Caps games are once again the hottest ticket in town as fans will be flocking next season to see Alex Ovechkin, who's 41 goals away from tying Wayne Gretzky. After 31 this season, I wouldn't bet against it.

Then there was the goalies. Darcy Kuemper came into the season as the number one starter but lost the job at season's end to Charlie Lindgren. Keeping Kuemper as a backup would cause a salary cap casualty especially since Lindgren makes less and was given more resposibility.

At just 42 years old Carbery guideded the Caps back to the playoffs with a record of 40-31-11 for 91 points. This came after an eight year playoff streak ended last season. From last season to this season the Caps underwent an 11 point improvement with Carbery at the helm.

Grade B-: Carbery and the coaching staff get just above an average grade with a trip back to the playoffs when they weren't even supposed to be there according to those outside of the DMV. That's good enough in our books for a B-.

What Carbery and the staff needs to improve on is a no brainer: offense and special teams. Once those are straightened out, they won't have to claw and scratch their way into the dance next year like they had to this year.