The Washington Capitals announced Friday morning that they have re-assigned forward Aliaksei Protas to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL).
The Bears begin a stretch of three games in three days against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight in Allentown, PA. Protas has been a healthy scratch in recent games for the Capitals.
Protas, 21, made his NHL debut on Nov. 1, 2021, against the Tampa Bay Lightning and has recorded nine points (3g, 6a) in 33 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.
Protas spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he recorded a combined 120 points (42g, 78a) in 119 games.
Protas finished the 2019-20 season with 80 points (31g, 49a) in 58 games and ranked ninth in the WHL in points. He 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).
Protas led Prince Albert in goals, assists, points, plus/minus (37) and game-winning goals (7) in 2019-20, while incurring eight penalty minutes, the fewest among the league’s top-50 scorers. Protas was selected to the WHL’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team and was named the WHL Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.