The kings of roster tinkering this season are at it again. With a handful of days before their next game, the Washington Capitals shifted some pieces back and forth with their AHL affiliate, Hershey Bears.
The Capitals recalled forward Aliaksei Protas from Hershey and sent defensemen Alex Alexeyev and Lucas Johansen via the taxi squad and forward Michael Sgarbossa and goaltender Pheonix Copley via the main roster back to the AHL.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 4, 2022
The lone recall of the day, Protas was sent down to the Bears Sunday afternoon after a 22-game stint with the Caps. He tallied six points during that time.
Both Alexeyev and Johansen made their NHL debuts last week as a large chunk of the Caps defense corps were out due to COVID protocol. They were the sixth and seventh players to make their rookie debuts this season for the Caps.
Sgarbossa has played in eight games this season at the NHL level, recording four points which include a primary assist to John Carlson in the team’s most recent overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. Copley did not make an appearance in net.
The Capitals’ next game comes Friday in St. Louis against the Blues.
More from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Aliaksei Protas From Hershey
Michael Sgarbossa and Pheonix Copley re-assigned to Hershey; Lucas Johansen and Alexander Alexeyev re-assigned from the taxi squad to Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled center Aliaksei Protas from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), re-assigned forward Michael Sgarbossa and goaltender Pheonix Copley to Hershey and re-assigned defensemen Lucas Johansen and Alexander Alexeyev from the taxi squad to Hershey, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Protas, 20, made his NHL debut on Nov. 1, 2021, against the Tampa Bay Lightning and has recorded six points (2g, 4a) in 22 games with the Capitals this season. In addition, the 6’6″, 225-pound center has five points (1g, 4a) in eight games with the Bears this season. The Vitebsk, Belarus, native recorded 18 points (10g, 8a) in 58 regular season games with Dinamo Minsk during the 2020-21 season. Protas 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. The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Sgarbossa, 29, has recorded four points (2g, 2a) in eight games with the Capitals this season and 14 points (8g, 6a) in 15 games with the Bears. The Campbellville, Ontario, native appeared in five games with Washington during the 2020-21 season, recording two assists. During the 2019-20 season, the 6’0″, 179-pound center played two games with Washington, making his Capitals debut on Nov. 20, 2019, against the New York Rangers. Sgarbossa also recorded 40 points (13g, 27a) in 39 games with Hershey, which ranked third on the team. Additionally, Sgarbossa led Hershey in points per game (1.03), tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4) and ranked tied for second in power play goals (5). In 55 career NHL games with the Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers, Sgarbossa has recorded 16 points (4g, 12a).
Copley, 29, has posted a record of 8-5-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage in 14 games with Hershey this season. During the 2020-21 season, Copley led Hershey goaltenders in wins (10), shutouts (2) and games played (15) and ranked seventh in wins and eighth in goals-against average (2.66) in the AHL. Copley and Zach Fucale received the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award in 2020-21, presented to the goaltenders on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season. In 205 career AHL games, Copley has a 108-65-23 record with 14 shutouts and a 2.56 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. The North Pole, Alaska native appeared in 27 games with Washington in 2018-19, posting a 16-7-3 record with one shutout and a 2.90 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. In 29 career NHL games with the Capitals and the St. Louis Blues, Copley has a 16-8-3 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.
Johansen, 24, made his NHL debut and recorded his first NHL point on Dec. 31 versus the Detroit Red Wings. Johansen has recorded seven points (3g, 4a) and a +14 plus/minus rating in 22 games with Hershey this season. The Vancouver, British Columbia native is on pace to record 22 points this season, which would mark his highest single-season total since 2017-18 (6g-21a-27p in 74 games played). In 155 career games with Hershey, Johansen has recorded 52 points (12g, 40a). Johansen was selected with the Capitals’ first-round pick, 28th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Alexeyev became the sixth rookie to make his NHL debut with the Capitals this season when he dressed versus the Nashville Predators on Dec. 29. Alexeyev, the Capitals’ first-round pick, 31st overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft, has recorded four points (1g, 3a) in 24 games with Hershey this season. Alexeyev began the 2020-21 season on loan to Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The St. Petersburg, Russia native appeared in 55 of Salavat Yulaev’s 60 regular season games, tied for the most among the team’s defensemen. Alexeyev’s 16 points (8g, 8a) ranked second among Salavat Yulaev defensemen and his 17:52 time on ice per game ranked third. Alexeyev was named the KHL’s Rookie of the Month for January after recording seven points (4g, 3a) and a +6 plus/minus rating in 11 games. Additionally, Alexeyev recorded one assist and led the team with 23 blocked shots in nine playoff games. Alexeyev finished the 2020-21 season with Hershey, recording nine points (2g, 7a) in 12 games, ranking tied for third on the team in plus/minus (11) and fifth in points per game (0.75).
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