“I want to say a big thank you to the fans and Dinamo Minsk for the season. This year gave me a big boost in my development. Thanks to the fans for their support and good luck!”
The 6’-6” centerman had a very successful rookie professional campaign in the KHL, recording 10 goals and eight assists in 58 games. Protas also added a goal and three assists in five postseason games and was recognized as the best rookie in the first round of the Gagarin Cup.
It is uncertain as to what the next step will be for Protas at this point in 2021. Prince Albert media has stated that he will not be returning to the Raiders this season, due to the logistics involved in having a player return from Europe. (He would need a national interest exemption from the Canadian government—much like incoming players and teams did for the World Juniors in Edmonton this past holiday season. Then he would have to serve a two-week quarantine)
It is unclear at this point if he would be able to report to Hershey. In a “normal” season Protas would not be eligible due to age and CHL eligibility requirements. However, because the WHL will not be allowing European players to return for their abbreviated season, it is possible that this allows Protas some leeway for playing in the AHL.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke about prospects loaned to Europe in an interview with Capitals media last week. He said ”as teams finish in Europe, we’re gonna try and bring guys back and put them in Hershey to finish up the year in Hershey.”
Capitals defensive prospect Alex Alexeyev continues to play for Salavat Yuleav Ufa in the KHL. Salavat has advanced to the second round of the KHL playoffs.
Defenseman Bobby Nardella, who is playing for Djurgarden in the Swedish Hockey League is also still playing for Djurgarden.
The fourth Capitals prospect in Europe is Tobias Geisser, who is wrapping up his season with EVZ of the Swiss League.
By Jon Sorensen