The Washington Capitals have recalled 2019 third-round pick Aliaksei Protas from the Hershey Bears as the team is going through injury trouble to centers Nic Dowd and Nicklas Backstrom as well as TJ Oshie.
Dowd’s status in particular is what has spurred on this most recent callup. Dowd missed a game against the Ottawa Senators with a lower-body injury, returned against the Red Wings days later, but then left the Capitals’ most recent morning skate hobbled and in pain. He would miss the game that night against the Coyotes.
“He’s out there, we’ll make a decision tomorrow,” Laviolette said on Sunday of Dowd’s potential involvement. “He is coming on the trip, we’re working through things in the room right now.”
Dowd skated as an extra at practice but it looks like it didn’t go too well and the Capitals have placed him on injured reserve. The team is set to embark on a road trip through Florida that will see them gone until Thursday.
Protas has never played in an NHL game or been called up to the Capitals before.
So far this season, he has a goal and four total points in six games with Hershey.
NEWS | The Capitals have recalled center Aliaksei Protas from the Hershey Bears and have placed center Nic Dowd on the Injured Reserve list.https://t.co/Y1BWgcyLfX
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 1, 2021
Protas had been skating on a line with junior teammate and recent Caps debutant Brett Leason and speedy winger Axel Jonsson-Fjallby.
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) October 27, 2021
The 6’6″, 210-pound center had a seemingly neverending 2020-21 season that took him all over the globe. He played a full KHL season plus playoffs with Dinamo Minsk, played another 16 games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL, made a World Championship appearance with Belarus in May, and was involved in Olympic Qualifying with Belarus in August.
He is another young player that the team believes can be played on both the wing and at center as demonstrated by how he was deployed during the preseason.
Tonight's lines for #CapsFlyers:
Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway
Mantha – Kuznetsov – Leason
Sheary – Protas – Pilon
Jonsson-Fjallby – Sgarbossa – Snively
Kempny – van Riemsdyk
Geisser – Schultz
Fehervary – Jensen
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 2, 2021
Tonight's lines for #CapsDevils:
Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway
Sprong – McMichael – Vecchione
Protas – Lapierre – Pilon
Malenstyn – Sgarbossa – Pinho
Orlov – Fehervary
Alexeyev – van Riemsdyk
Geisser – Irwin
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 4, 2021
Dowd last played against the Wings on October 27 which means he will be eligible to come off of injured reserve before Thursday’s game against the Panthers.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Aliaksei Protas From Hershey
Nic Dowd placed on Injured Reserve
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled center Aliaksei Protas from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) and have placed center Nic Dowd on the Injured Reserve list, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Protas, 20, has four points (1g, 3a) in six games with Hershey this season and his three assists are tied for the fifth most on the Bears.
The 6’6″, 225-pound center recorded 18 points (10g, 8a) in 58 regular season games with Dinamo Minsk during the 2020-21 season. The Vitebsk, Belarus, native 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. Protas was re-assigned to Hershey on March 18 and made his AHL debut on March 31. He recorded seven points (2g, 5a) in 16 games with Hershey. Additionally, Protas represented Belarus at the 2021 IIHF World Championship, recording two assists in six games.
Protas 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).
Protas 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.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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