Aliaksei Protas Leaves For World Juniors On Top Of WHL, Joe Snively Continues Scoring Streak In Hershey, Damien Riat Contract Rumors Begin Again: Week 11 Prospect Report

Photo: Lucas Chudleigh/Apollo Multimedia

Welcome to the week 11 Washington Capitals prospect report. The following includes game action and news that occurred between November 25 and December 1, 2019. (Reminder: you can always access all of our prospect news and analysis in the top menu under the “Prospects” tab. You can also follow the latest Capitals prospect news on Twitter  under the #CapsProspect hashtag.



The Bears began the week with a wild 7-6 shootout loss to the Providence Bruins on Wednesday. The good news, the Bears broke out of their offensive slump, the bad news, they gave up a three-goal lead in the loss. Joe Snively Scored two goals in the game, his 4th goal in the last three games. Another positive sign was the play of the top line of Snively-Sgarbossa-Pilon. Saturday night did not go much better, as the Bears fell 3-1 to the Belleville Senators. The offensive struggles appeared to return after a one game hiatus. The Bears would return to the win column Sunday night with a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the Hartford Wolf Pack. Brett Leason would score the game winner.

Pheonix Copley – was an unfortunate participant in Wednesday night’s slugfest, as it seemed it just wasn’t the goaltenders night. Copley stopped 21 of 27 for a .777 game save percentage in the 7-6 loss. Copley rebounded Sunday night in the Bears 4-3 OT win. He stopped 26 of 29in the game. Copley is 5-5-4-1 with a 2.73 GAA and a .894 save percentage on the season.

Vitek Vanecek – had a decent outing Saturday night versus the Senators, but only saw 15 shots (stopped 13 of 15) in the 2-1 loss. For the season, Vanecek is 4-4-1-0 with a 2.84 GAA and a .885 save percentage.

Joe Snively – Snively scored two goals in Wednesday night’s 7-6 shootout loss to the Bruins. The first came in the second period to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.

His second goal came with less than four minutes left in regulation to tie the game 6-6, ultimately sending the game to overtime.

The top line of Snively-Sgarbossa-Pilon line looked very sharp on Wednesday. Snively fit well with the line, finding his open ice on the left wing for both of his goals.

Brian Pinho – also scored in the 7-6 loss to the Bruins on Wednesday night. Pinho’s tally came in the end of a nice defensive play and breakaway. Pinho also was awarded a penalty shot earlier in the game on a similar break away, but did not convert.

Beck Malenstyn – continues to impress with the big club. Malenstyn played significant time on the penalty kill for the Caps as well. He and Christian Djoos were returned to Hershey Sunday morning. (More here.)

Kody Clark – registered his first career AHL point on Saturday against Belleville. He would provide the secondary assist on the Bears first goal by Eddie Whittchow.

Shane Gersich – scored his third goal of the season Sunday night against Hartford. The goal tied the game 2-2 in the second period.

Brett Leason – Scores his first AHL goal on Sunday night against Hartford, and it was a big one. He would score the game winner 2:21 into overtime. He had a goal and two assists in the game.


Connor McMichael – on Monday (11/25) McMichael sat for an interview with Junior Hockey Magazine. Well worth a listen (here).

McMichael was asked what it was like seeing guys like Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson in the gym during training camp? Connor answered “Seeing the way they carry themselves off the ice and their work ethic in the gym is insane. They’re pretty big guys and I hope I can put on some more muscle and end up being a more physical and dominant player like them.”

He was also asked about a text message he received from Capitals head coach Todd Reirden after being named OHL Player of the Week earlier this season. McMichael said “He congratulated me on being Player of the Week and said he has been watching most of our games and that he is impressed with how I am playing. It means a lot getting a text like that from the head coach of a team that you could one day play for, especially in the NHL. It gives you a lot of confidence knowing that the coaches believe in you and that they have been watching you all year, so it means a lot to me.”

McMichael was also asked about his preseason experience in Washington. “It was awesome. Going into my first preseason game, I was a little bit nervous but once I got my first couple of shifts out of the way and I was able to watch guys like (Alex) Ovechkin, (Nicklas) Backstrom, and (John) Carlson just the way they carry themselves around the rink and on the ice, it was awesome to learn from them so I felt a lot more comfortable in every preseason game that I played. I was happy with the showing I put on.”

As for on the ice, on Friday night, McMichael wasted little time in denting twine with a tally in the first period against Windsor.

McMichael would add an assist, finishing the game with 1g, 1a, upping his totals to 24g, 29a in 22 games so far this season.

On Saturday, McMichael had an assist on two shots and was 5 for 10 in faceoffs. The assist was a pretty nice no-look centering pass off the boards in the left corner.

Video: The OHL

On Sunday McMichael met with Sault Ste. Marie game announcers during the first intermission. He spoke about his season so far, being drafted by the Capitals, development and training camp, and meeting John Carlson.

Video: The OHL/Sault Ste. Marie

As for the game, McMichael would score in the second period would steal and nice snipe. He also had an assist on the game winning goal:

For the season, McMichael has 25 goals and 31 assists in 25 games played. He’s taken 104 shots for a 23.1% shooting percentage. He leads the OHL in points (56) and is second in goals (25)

Aliaksei Protas – Protas will be heading to Minsk On Sunday to take part in Belarus’ camp for the 2020 IIHF World Under-20 Championship – Division 1A. This will be the second consecutive year that Protas will represent Belarus at the Division 1A tournament. Last year, he had five points (2G-3A) in five games as Belarus finished in second place. He also suited up for Belarus at the 2018 World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

On Friday night, Protas would score a goal and two assists, and was the first star of the game against Swift Current.

As previously noted, Protas also had two assists in the game. His first assist came on a nice no-look centering pass from below the goal.

After the game, Protas’ teammate Spencer Moe was asked about the improvement in Protas’ play so far this season. “He’s got more confidence and a better understanding of our systems after being here with the championship team last year and I think it shows,” Moe added. “He was able to sign a contract with Washington in the summer as a result of that, which is something that all of us are proud of.”

This was his last home game before he and teammate Ilya Usau head to Belarus’ World Junior training camp.

On Saturday night at Swift Current, Protas added two more assists. His second of the game was a nice feed to Ozzy Weisblatt.

Protas is now on his way to Minsk to take part in the Belarus training camp as the prepare for the 2020 IIHF World Under-20 Championship – Division 1A, which begins later this month. Protas departs having scored 18 goals and 24 assists in 27 games played. He leaves leading the WHL in points, and 3rd in goals.

Eric Florchuk – Florchuk and the Blades began their week with a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. Florchuk was held off of the scoresheet, and was 8 of 19 in faceoffs. The American’s netminder, Beck Warm, who attended Capitals rookie and training camps, was the second star of the game.

On Friday night against Lethbridge, Florchuk would score his 10th goal of the season.


Kristian Roykås-Marthinsen – scored his 4th goal of the season on Wednesday. Marthinsen has 4 goals and an assist in 18 games played so far this season for HC Dalen.

Damien Riat – Rumors have begun to surface (once again) as to what Riat’s next move will be. “There is a lot of interest in Damien, especially from the KHL and Sweden,” his agent Fred Holdener tells the Journal du Jura. But he also states that his client has not signed anywhere yet and thus denies any rumors about an agreement with SC Bern: “That is completely false”. A decision, however, does not seem to be imminent. The reason is a possible move overseas. First, Damien Riat and his agent want to know about the intentions of the Washington Capitals. The Capitals drafted Riat in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. All of this could be coming from the Riat camp, trying to generate offers, or force the Capitals to play their hand. On the ice, Riat returned to the lineup in 12/1 after setting out most of November with a concussion. Riat was hit in the head with a puck on 11/2.


Benton Maass – Benton and UNH are in Northern Ireland for the annual “Friendship Four” event this weekend. They played Northeastern Friday (4-0 loss) and Princeton (3-2 win) on Saturday.

Mitchell Gibson – Gibson did not play in Friday’s game versus (12/14) Boston College, the only game on Harvard’s schedule this week. As you may recall, Gibson has the best GAA and save percentage in the NCAA. He left in the second period of Friday night’s game with a lower body injury. He made 15 stops before the injury. He did participate in warmups on Friday night.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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14 Responses to Aliaksei Protas Leaves For World Juniors On Top Of WHL, Joe Snively Continues Scoring Streak In Hershey, Damien Riat Contract Rumors Begin Again: Week 11 Prospect Report

  1. Anonymous says:

    Both Protas and possibly McMichael’s season totals will take a hit due to World Juniors, but it’s a good thing they are invited.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully Leason is coming alive. He’s a slow starter, but a good winger.

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