The Washington Capitals announced on Friday that they’re loaning 2019 third-round pick Aliaksei Protas to the KHL to begin next season. Protas will suit up for Dinamo Minsk, which is located in his home country of Belarus.
The Caps added that they expect to recall the mammoth forward back to North America either for the start of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) 2020-21 season or Capitals’ Training Camp.
Dinamo Minsk first announced the news on their website.
— ХК Динамо-Минск | HC Dinamo Minsk (@hcdinamoby) August 7, 2020
“We wanted to see Alexei Protas on the team, realizing what great potential he has. But the striker himself had doubts, and Washington, with which Lesha has a valid contract, was not ready to make a decision quickly enough. However, now with all the obstacles overcome, I am glad to announce – Protas is with Dinamo!” Dinamo Minsk general director Dmitry Baskov said in a release. “Alexey is a bright, creative striker, strong individually. I believe that our team will become an excellent platform for his development, the transition from youth hockey to a professional one. Everyone will benefit from this – Alexey, and Dinamo, and the national team. This signing continues the strategy of our club, which implies special attention to the new generation of talented Belarusian players. We intend to reaffirm this.”
While the NHL looks to start next season in late November or December, all hockey leagues in North America are facing uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Loaning Protas to Dinamo will allow the prospect to continue to develop during that time. The KHL recently announced its plans to start its season in September.
— KHL (@khl_eng) August 7, 2020
Protas looks to be another steal for the Capitals. The 19-year-old forward had 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games with WHL Prince Albert. He was the highest-scoring European-born player in the WHL last season.
More from the Capitals:
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned center Aliaksei Protas to Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to begin the 2020-21 season, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. It is expected that the Capitals will recall Protas to North America upon either the commencement of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) 2020-21 season or the Capitals’ 2020-21 training camp.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Protas, 19, finished the 2019-20 season with 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games with Prince Albert (WHL). The Vitebsk, Belarus, native ranked ninth in the WHL in points and was the highest scoring European-born player.
The 6’6”, 210-pound center became the third European player in Prince Albert’s history to record 80 points, joining Leon Draisaitl (2013-14: 105 points) and Milan Kraft (1998-99: 86 points). With four games remaining prior to the WHL’s season cancelation, Protas was on pace for 85 points (33g, 52a). His 52 assists would have been the second-most by a European-born player in Prince Albert’s history (Draisaitl: 67a in 2013-14).
Protas led the Raiders in both goals and assists this season. His seven game winning goals tied for seventh in the WHL. He recorded a point in 41 of his 58 games and led Prince Albert with 27 multi-point games.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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