Washington Capitals Name Kirk Muller, Kenny McCudden Assistant Coaches

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The Washington Capitals have named Kirk Muller as an assistant coach and Kenny McCudden as an assistant/skills coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Muller and McCudden will join assistant coaches Scott Allen and Mitch Love, goaltending coach Scott Murray, assistant coach/video Brett Leonhardt and video coordinator Emily Engel-Natzke on head coach Spencer Carbery’s staff. In addition, the Capitals have promoted Zack Leddon to head strength coach and named Mike Wagner as assistant strength coach.

Muller, 57, joins Washington after spending the previous two seasons as an associate coach with the Calgary Flames. The Kingston, Ontario native brings 17 years of NHL coaching experience to Washington, which includes two stints with the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant coach (2006-11) and as an associate coach (2016-21) and two seasons with the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach (2014-16). Muller also served as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (2011-14) and the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals (2011). Muller’s teams have qualified for the playoffs nine times, including two conference final appearances (Montreal: 2010; St. Louis: 2016), and have ranked in the top 10 in power-play percentage seven times. During Muller’s tenure in St. Louis, the Blues owned the NHL’s third-highest power-play percentage (21.9 percent).

Internationally, Muller was an assistant coach for Canada at the 2012 and 2019 IIHF World Championships, earning a silver medal in 2019 along with Capitals forwards Dylan Strome and Anthony Mantha. Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Muller appeared in 1,349 games over 19 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, recording 959 points (357g, 602a). Muller, the second overall pick in the 1984 NHL Draft, won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993.

McCudden, 61, joins the Capitals after spending the last eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets. A Chicago native, McCudden joined the Blue Jackets in 2015 as a skills coach after spending 16 seasons as the skating and skills coach for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. With Chicago, McCudden helped the Wolves advance to the 2005 Calder Cup Finals and capture the Calder Cup championship in 2008.

McCudden has worked with numerous NHL players and prospects as a skills coach and instructed at development camps for the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers. In addition, McCudden served as the skating and skills coach for the United States Women’s National Team from 2011-14 and as a scout for the silver medal-winning squad at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Leddon is entering his first season as head strength coach after serving the past five seasons as the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach under Mark Nemish, who retired after 16 seasons with the Capitals and 22 years in the NHL. Working closely with Wagner, nutritionist Sue Saunders and regeneration Dr. David LeMay, Leddon will oversee the on-ice monitoring of players’ conditioning, nutritional strategies, and supplement program. Leddon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2014 and received a master’s degree in strength and conditioning from George Washington University in 2017.

Wagner joins the Capitals after spending the past seven seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. A Hershey native, Wagner has worked with the University of Maryland, Millersville University and Villanova University. Wagner has a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion with a concentration in injury prevention and performance enhancement. Wagner will be joined in Washington by his wife Katrina, son Reid and daughter Katerina.

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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16 Responses to Washington Capitals Name Kirk Muller, Kenny McCudden Assistant Coaches

  1. Anonymous says:

    All set! Let’s go to work!

  2. hockeydruid says:

    Interesting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We have hired half of Calgary, coincidentally MacLellan’s hometown.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m hearing negatives in Muller.

  5. Scottlew73 says:

    Muller is damn good coach,finally smart move by GM,good insurance in case head coach doesn’t work out!

    • andrew777dc says:

      Never really followed Muller, so nothing to say on him. One thing that comes to mind, though, ever since Carbs was hired, is why aren’t we hearing anything from him, like, at all? There was his first interview when he was introduced, then a couple words after the Calder Cup was bagged, and that’s it. Yeah, it’s the mgmt on the mic, aka the old boys. Now it’s a couple more senior guys as ACs. But does Carbs and when will he have a say in the organization? What’s he thinking, anyway? Would be interesting to find out)

  6. dwgie26 says:

    A lot of AHL coaches coming in which is good for the youth movement coming. Seems like a strong emphasis on player development. But i really like the Muller hiring to bring some NHL veteran experience. That is going to be an important voice for OV, Oshie, Backstrom in particular.

    Given the coaching staff is set, and looking at the mix, i suspect Carberry (and staff) is going to run a hard on the puck, fast paced style. I suspect we’ll see a much more physical defense as well.

    Still very concerned about our talent level, age, and health. So we need young players to develop.

    It will be interesting to see whom embraces the system and style and who doesn’t. That too will lead to moving some players out.

    • hockeydruid says:

      I agree that Carberry will have a lot more run and gun than this team has had in a long time. I also think we will see the following lines: 1st line The Old Man Line, 2nd line The tweeners Line, 3rd line The Young Guns Line and 4th line The Whatever Line. Lets just hope that the D can keep up with the Off. I have a feeling that 3 maybe 4 of the guys from Hershey will make the team out of camp.

    • novafyre says:

      This year, I want to see some entertaining, fun hockey. Not looking for the Cup or even the playoffs. But, win or lose, I want to end each game with a “Wow, that was fun” attitude.

      • andrew777dc says:

        No offense, I definitely hear you. This just reminds me of the days back in the late 80s – early 90s, when the Caps would be losing games by the score of 3-4 or 4-5 (often in OT), or 3-6 (but with 1-2 ENG), or 4-7, etc., to the likes of PHI, NJD or LAK. Occasionally winning 3-2 or maybe 5-3 (with an ENG). That was definitely fun and entertaining, but… do I wanna go back to that? Uh-uh, nada. 🙂

        • novafyre says:

          Just trying to set a realistic bar for expectations. Wins would be great, but with Backy, Kuzy, and Mantha still around, all new staff trying to get settled, and prospects still untried, I know that wins will be hard to get. But hey, my HS never had a winning football season when I was there. I really went to support friends in the band. So I can accept losses. But I still need to enjoy the game, individual players, individual plays. Not seeing Lavi’s hounddog look behind the bench is a good start.

          Now, if we can go back to Gabby’s Rock the Red days, it would be a good season.

          Then next year, bar goes up.

          • andrew777dc says:

            So there’s no chance of not seeing Kuzy, Mantha, and/or Backy (and Osh, for that matter) around – with the latter, at least for a significant part of the season (i.e. on LTIR)? I’m still hopeful for “one or two new guys in the top 6”, per GMBM) In addition to Patches, that is. Is all hope to be forsaken in that regard?) I’m still hoping the team would be fighting to stay competitive, whether it’s with guys from Hershey, and/or new people in the top 6 (or top 9, just whatever). Which seems to be what everyone is hoping to get from the new coaches. For me, heck, even if it means dull 3-2, 2-1 (OT) or whatever hard-fought, grinding battles, I’d rather stay in the W column and in the PO race – if possible, please 🙂 If it doesn’t work out, fine, but as long as we’ve put up a fight. I can live without entertainment, if I have to. I can get my thrills from looking at the points and standings tables. And then, yes, next season can be better.

      • dwgie26 says:

        I am with you fyre. There is a cause and affect here. Playing hard, fun hockey with effort is better than watching lazy undisciplined hockey from players who don’t seem to care.

        I just don’t think Carberry will stand for that and will have a lot more appetite to take a Mantha or Kuzy and staple them to bench or scratch them in favor of playing young hungry kids. They won’t be as good but will play a harder game. Hopefully that raises the level of the veterans. If that can happen we will both be competitive and more fun.

        • novafyre says:

          It doesn’t appear to me that ANY of the new Caps coaches will stand for lazy, undisciplined or phone it in hockey. These new coaches aren’t coming here to earn retirement watches. I like their resumes and what I have read about their attitudes. But this year could be rough. Might surprise us or might be just too much to recover from in one year. But I think it could be entertaining.

          Now, will GMBM have their backs?

          • dwgie26 says:

            Obviously not in the room for the discussions but it would appear that GMBM was transparent to Lavi. And would assume equally transparent with Carbs and hopefully they are on the same page. But a lot of development coaches here. Lots of young players in the wings.

            As you mentioned in another post, this is going to be a transition year with new staff and it seems trouble moving out contracts. There will be more flexibility next year so the bar will go up.

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