By Ian Oland
After a very successful season with the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk, Aliaksei Protas is returning to North America for more development in the Capitals’ organization.
Protas was loaned to Dinamo Minsk in August due to the pandemic mostly shutting down junior hockey in Canada.
After Dinamo was eliminated in the KHL quarterfinals by SKA St. Petersburg in mid-March, the Capitals recalled Protas stateside and assigned the towering forward to the AHL Hershey Bears. The Bears’ season runs through May.
Elite Coach 𝗥𝗢𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗥 𝗠𝗢𝗩𝗘: The @Capitals have re-assigned forward Aliaksei Protas (@protas_21) to Hershey. The 6'6" center was the Capitals' 3rd round pick in 2019. #HBH
➡ https://t.co/svLbqdhuyZ pic.twitter.com/V0DuSk1Ep3
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) March 18, 2021
The 20-year-old center scored 10 goals and recorded 18 points in 58 games for Dinamo this season, despite only receiving 12:52 of ice time. Protas started the season hot, scoring four goals in his first 14 games.
🚨Алексей Протас реализовывает большинство и забрасывает свою вторую шайбу в КХЛ! pic.twitter.com/D9erSDKs3O
— Хоккей Беларуси | Hockey.by (@hockey_blr) September 15, 2020
🥳Третья шайба Алексея Протаса в КХЛ! pic.twitter.com/3XFXG9FOKe
— Хоккей Беларуси | Hockey.by (@hockey_blr) September 25, 2020
Так забрасывал Алексей Протас. pic.twitter.com/uqtlGbECiI
— ХК Динамо-Минск | HC Dinamo Minsk (@hcdinamoby) October 11, 2020
In the postseason, Protas chipped in four points (1g, 3a) in five games and was named the KHL’s Best Rookie of the First Round. The forward was the best 20-or-under player in the KHL this season, notching a league-high 10 goals and 18 points among his peers.
Protas, the Capitals’ third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, recorded 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games for the Prince Albert Raiders during the 2019-20 season, ranking ninth in the WHL in points. According to the Capitals PR, Protas 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).
Protas will join Connor McMichael, the Capitals’ top prospect and the team’s number one pick that year, in Hershey. McMichael has seven points in 12 games for the Bears this season including his first career professional hat trick.
The Capitals’ full press release can be read below:
Capitals Re-assign Aliaksei Protas to Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-assigned center Aliaksei Protas from Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Protas, the Capitals’ third-round choice, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, recorded 18 points (10g, 8a) in 58 regular season games with Dinamo Minsk this season. The Vitebsk, Belarus, native ranked tied for fifth on the team in goals and tied for eighth in points, despite ranking 15th in time on ice per game (12:52) among Dinamo Minsk skaters with at least 30 games played.
Additionally, Protas recorded four points (1g, 3a) in five playoff games and was named Best Rookie of the KHL playoffs’ first round.
Protas, 20, spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he recorded a combined 120 points (42g, 78a) in 119 games.
Protas finished the 2019-20 season with 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games and ranked ninth in the WHL in points. He 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).
The 6’6”, 210-pound center led Prince Albert in goals, assists, points, plus/minus (37) and game winning goals (7) in 2019-20, while incurring eight penalty minutes, the fewest among the league’s top-50 scorers. Protas was selected to the WHL’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team and was named the WHL Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.
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