The Washington Capitals announced on Thursday that they have hired Kirk Muller and Kenny McCudden as assistant coaches. Muller and McCudden are the second and third additions to new head coach Spencer Carbery’s staff after Mitch Love was brought on in June.
Both Muller and McCudden were active as assistant coaches last season. Muller with the Calgary Flames and McCudden with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Muller has a history of running power plays in the league, taking up those duties with the Flames, Montreal Canadiens, and St. Louis Blues over the past nine seasons. McCudden is being brought on as a skills coach, a position he has held in pro hockey for over two decades.
The Washington Capitals have named Kirk Muller as an assistant coach and Kenny McCudden as an assistant/skills coach.#ALLCAPS
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 20, 2023
With the two hires, Carbery’s staff is now complete. Muller and McCudden will join fellow assistants Love and Scott Allen, goaltending coach Scott Murray, assistant coach/video Brett Leonhardt, and video coordinator Emily Engel-Natzke.
Muller has had a 17-year career as a coach in the NHL after he wrapped up a 19-year playing career in the league. Two of his past stints as a pro coach have been in the role of head coach. He spent 17 games as the Milwaukee Admirals bench boss in the AHL before being hired as the Carolina Hurricanes’ head coach during the 2011-12 campaign.
With the Canes his team’s missed the playoffs three seasons in a row and he was fired after the 2013-14 season. He then moved back to being an assistant the next year under Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis. There, Muller led a Blues power play that had the NHL’s third-highest success rate (21.9 percent). Muller, notably, has also coached Caps forwards Dylan Strome and Anthony Mantha in the past with Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championships.
McCudden has spent the past eight years with the Blue Jackets. Before that he served as an instructor at development camps for several NHL teams and was the skating and skills coach for the United States Women’s National Team from 2011 to 2014.
The Caps also announced that Zack Leddon has been promoted to head strength coach and Mike Wagner has been named assistant strength coach. Leddon worked under former head strength coach Mark Nemish for five years and Wagner has spent the past seven seasons as the Hershey Bears’ strength coach.
Congratulations to Mike Wagner on his promotion to the @Capitals! After seven seasons with his hometown club, Wagner has been named Washington's assistant strength coach.
Good luck, @CoachMikeWagner!
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) July 20, 2023
Here’s the release from the team:
Capitals Name Kirk Muller and Kenny McCudden Assistant Coaches
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.
Screenshot via Calgary Flames
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