The Last Line: The Washington Capitals’ Fourth-Line Looks To Continue Effectiveness Under Spencer Carbery

Joe Noyes/NoVa Caps

While the Washington Capitals have undergone a number of changes since their 2018 Stanley Cup championship, including the addition of their fourth head coach in that time in Spencer Carbery, one constant in the twists and turns of the NHL has been the efficient play of the team’s fourth-line.

Anchored down the middle for years by the inimitable Jay Beagle, who departed in free agency following the Stanley Cup victory, Nic Dowd has centered the fourth-line exceedingly well; and with longtime running mate Garnet Hathaway no longer on the right side, for first-year bench boss Carbery, the construction of the fourth-line is paramount to his team returning to contention after a disappointing 2022-23 season.

Dowd Underwent Core Surgery After Season Ended, Washington GM MacLellan Says

While the Center position is almost-certainly secured with Dowd, who recorded a career-high 13 goals and 25 Points last season, the question marks of his flanking wingers is still anyone’s guess. That being said, there are some possibilities that could see their names in the lineup come Opening Night.


Had it not been for an injury, former fifth-round pick (145th overall in 2016) Beck Malenstyn would have likely made a definitive case for himself last season. The 25-year old played in nine games with the Caps, picking up two points while showing a willingness to fight the battles in the corners, throw the body, and chip in on the rush when possible, all elements that could make him an effective fourth-line commodity. With a familiarity with Carbery from their time with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, Malenstyn is likely on the coaching staff’s radar.


Another obvious choice to play alongside Dowd, Aube-Kubel played substantial time in the Capitals’ bottom-six last season under former bench boss Peter Laviolette, and when on the ice with No. 26, the former Colorado Avalanche proved to be effective; in 30 Games Played with Dowd, the line compiled a 51.4% Corsi For. The Capitals re-signed Aube-Kubel to a one-year deal at the end of last season, after the 2022 Stanley Cup champion recorded 12 Points (4G, 8A) in 47 Games Played after being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Another strong performance this season could continue line no.4’s steadiness.


Although more of a long shot than Malenstyn and Aube-Kubel, with a new coaching staff and the Caps looking to infuse more youth and speed the Hershey Bears’ lone All-Star Game [player] representative last season could have a chance make his case in spring training. An undrafted free agent, Frank led the Chocolate and White in Goals last season with 30, while finishing third on the club in Points (49). The 25-year old could provide the fourth-line with a proven offensive kick and coveted bottom-six scoring the Caps were without at times last season.


Although possessing a skill-set that could potentially elevate him to the top-six, with the depth already in place, a bottom-six role seems more plausible for the Herndon, Virginia native. Having been given limited playing time last season, Snively seems primed to secure himself a more permanent lineup spot. And given he played under Spencer Carbery in Hershey, Snively has every incentive to make a name for himself in the coming weeks. In 32 games played last season, Snively recorded 27 Points, adding 15 Points in 20 Calder Cup playoff contests en route to the Bears’ 12th championship. Like Frank, Snively offers an offensive skill-set that could serve the team well.

Whatever the line combination ultimately ends up being, there is little doubt to the effectiveness at which it has played the last several seasons. With that resume of efficiency, there is little reason to be pessimistic of that as a new chapter of Capitals’ hockey begins.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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7 Responses to The Last Line: The Washington Capitals’ Fourth-Line Looks To Continue Effectiveness Under Spencer Carbery

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice selection for wings for Dowd. I would like to see Beck and Joe as the wings as both bring something that that line needs. One brings size the other speed and both bring scoring ability.

  2. Anonymous says:

    NAK, Dowd, Beck….thats your 4th line….

    • Anonymous says:

      I think so too, but in reverse order (l to r)

    • grudensucked says:


      Snively is not a 4th line player, he doesn’t forecheck or provide physicality, all he has is speed and he’s not even considered a “defensive” specialist ala Hags

      • Anonymous says:

        As Snively is 27 and not waiver-exempt and also a UFA after this season, do they play him a lot this pre season in hopes that he either earns a spot or raises interest from other teams in a trade? To his credit he comes cheap and that is what this team needs. Maybe rides the bench until Oshie gets hurt.

        • DWGIE26 says:

          Snively has a special place in my heart since he was a Little Cap. Sadly, i just don’t see how he fits in. I doubt he passes waivers this year, but it will be much like Leason and AJF last year. A favorite gone, but also a nothing burger. I’d like to see him get a chance elsewhere.

          • Anonymous says:

            Problem I see is that there are several who deserve a shot but with management thinking they have a shot at the playoffs and the signing or guys like NAK, Milano, Edmundson and Pacioretti, guys like Snively who is a UFA and these others are all RFAs McMichael, Frank, Sutter, Malenstyn, Protas will have to spend another year in Hershey and I wonder how many of them would walk at the end of the season to get a fair shake to make a roster. Wonder who will be on the trade block come Dec? Yes I know its early to be thinking about that but with the young players we have in Hershey and they need a chance to play, someone has to go. Let the hockey gods shine on us and someone will go crazy and want Mantha and take his salary without needing a pick and or giving us garbage back!!

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