Aliaksei Protas was sent down to the Hershey Bears on January 7 to help accomodate Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson returning to the Capitals’ active roster. Ten days later, Protas is back after the Caps lost Nic Dowd to injury Monday against the New York Islanders.
Multiple RMNB readers spotted Protas in the press box sitting with the Capitals’ scratches during the Wild game. According to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, Protas has been recalled by the Capitals and will join the team on their three-game road trip, which will see them play the Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche.
Protas just walked past in the press box. So he’s been recalled from AHL Hershey and will join the #Caps on the western trip to Arizona, Vegas and Colorado. Team leaves tomorrow.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) January 18, 2023
As of publishing, the Capitals have not officially announced the move. The Capitals have Wednesday off and are planning to travel to Arizona then.
During his time in the AHL, Protas skated on the second line with fellow prospects Connor McMichael and Garrett Pilon. The Belarussian forward posted three assists in five games, including a two-point night in his second game back with Hershey.
Protas can be utilized on the wing or at center and is a skilled two-way player, giving Peter Laviolette further flexibility in the lineup.
Protas’s call-up likely means that Nic Dowd will be out for a bit as he tries to recover from his lower-body injury.
Protas had 10 points (3g, 7a) in 41 games for the Capitals this season. In 193 minutes together, the Capitals’ fourth line of Protas-Dowd-Hathaway has the seventh-best expected goals percentage of 64.2 in the NHL per MoneyPuck.
1/18 update: The Capitals made the move official this morning via a press release.
Capitals Recall Aliaksei Protas
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled forward Aliaksei Protas from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Protas, 22, has recorded 10 points (3g, 7a) in 41 games with Washington this season. The 6’6”, 235-pound forward appeared in 33 games with Washington during the 2021-22 season, ranking second among Capitals rookies in plus/minus (+4) and third in points (9). In 74 career NHL games with the Capitals, Protas has recorded 19 points (6g, 13a).
In five games with Hershey this season, Protas has recorded three assists. The Vitebsk, Belarus native recorded 24 points (8g, 16a) in 42 games with the Bears in 2021-22, establishing AHL career highs in goals, assists, points and power play goals (2) and earning Hershey’s Rookie of the Year award. Protas has recorded 34 points (10g, 24a) in 63 career AHL games with Hershey.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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