The Washington Capitals announced on Friday that they have loaned forward prospect Aliaksei Protas to Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. It was reported that Protas met with Dinamo Minsk back in mid July and was extended an offer, but initially declined the offer.
We mentioned in a post published in early June that there were rumors swirling in Belarus media that the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk was interested in signing Protas. At the time there was question as to if/when the 2020-2021 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) season would begin, or if it would ever happen. Like many other prospect players at the time, Protas began to consider his options, including the possibility of staying at home in Belarus to play for Dinamo Minsk.
In a recent interview with Hockey.by, Protas detailed his meeting with Dinamo Minsk officials and his decision to initially pass on an offer from the team and return to the Prince Albert Raiders for a third season.
However, the WHL announced earlier this week that it is now scheduled to open its 2020-21 Regular Season on Friday, December 4, 2020. Thus, the option to remain home and play for Dinamo may have become his best option for playing any hockey at all this fall.
The KHL is currently set to begin their season in mid-September.
“We wanted to see Alexei Protas on the team, realizing what great potential he has. But the forward himself had doubts, and Washington”, with which Aliaksei has a contract, was not ready to make a decision quickly enough. However, now all the obstacles have been overcome, and I am glad to announce – Protas is in Dynamo! – said the General Director of HC “Dynamo-Minsk” Dmitry Baskov.
FROM CAPITALS MEDIA RELEASE
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned center Aliaksei Protas to Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to begin the 2020-21 season, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. It is expected that the Capitals will recall Protas to North America upon either the commencement of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) 2020-21 season or the Capitals’ 2020-21 training camp.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Protas, 19, finished the 2019-20 season with 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games with Prince Albert (WHL). The Vitebsk, Belarus, native ranked ninth in the WHL in points and was the highest scoring European-born player.
The 6’6”, 210-pound center 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). With four games remaining prior to the WHL’s season cancelation, Protas was on pace for 85 points (33g, 52a). His 52 assists would have been the second-most by a European-born player in Prince Albert’s history (Draisaitl: 67a in 2013-14).
Protas led the Raiders in both goals and assists this season. His seven game winning goals tied for seventh in the WHL. He recorded a point in 41 of his 58 games and led Prince Albert with 27 multi-point games.
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