Wednesday morning, the Washington Capitals announced that they signed 2019 third-round pick Aliaksei Protas to a three-year, entry-level contract worth $716,666 annually.
Standing 6’5″ and weighing in at 205 pounds, the hulking 18-year-old center won a WHL championship with the Prince Albert Raiders last season, leading all WHL rookies in playoff points with 22 (12g, 10a) in 23 games. Protas scored back-to-back hat tricks in the round prior to send the Raiders to the WHL Finals.
Protas was line-mates with Capitals’ second-round pick Brett Leason (20 years old), who will begin next season with the Hershey Bears.
During the Capitals’ Development Camp scrimmage, Protas showed off slick stick-handling and advanced use of his oversized body by utilizing a spin move at the blue line to send a backhanded pass to a teammate. It was one of several notable moments where Protas generated offense with his size.
The signing feels significant because it’s the first time in recent memory that the Capitals have signed a prospect from the third round or later so quickly after the NHL Draft. This follows the Capitals inking 2018 second-round pick Martin Fehervary to an entry-level deal during Development Camp last year.
Protas is the first Capitals draft pick ever from Belarus. The nickname he received from the Prince Albert Raiders was The Viper of Vitebsk.
More from the Capitals:
The Washington Capitals have signed forward Aliaksei Protas to a three-year, entry-level contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Protas’ contract will carry an average annual value of $716,666.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third round pick, 91st-overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Protas, 18, was ranked 16th among centers and 30th overall among North American forwards by NHL Central Scouting. Teammates with Brett Leason, who the Capitals selected in the second round (56th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, on Prince Albert, Protas registered 40 points (11g, 29a) in 61 games last season. The 6’5″, 205-pound center ranked seventh among WHL rookies in points and led all WHL rookies in playoff points with 22 (12g, 10a) in 23 games.
The Vitebsk, Belarus, native represented Belarus at the 2018 Under-18 World Championship, recording four points (1g, 3a) in four games, and also earned a silver medal at the 2019 Division 1 – Group A World Junior Championship, recording five points (2g, 3a) in five games.
The Capitals acquired the 91st overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft by trading their 118th and 129th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft to New Jersey.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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