“I Need To Prove What I Can Do On the Ice, Off the Ice”: Aliaksei Protas Talks His Strong Training Camp, Potential of Making Final Roster

Screenshot: Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals are just over a week away from the start of their 2022-23 regular season and slowly but surely, the team has whittled their training camp roster closer to the final product that will take the ice against the Boston Bruins. Among those left standing is forward Aliaksei Protas, whose impressive showing thus far has not gone unnoticed.

The 21-year old native of Vitebsk, Belarus, and former third-round pick of the Caps (91st overall in 2019) made his NHL debut last season (one of many young prospects to do so in 2020-21) and impressed in the 33 games in which he played (he recorded three goals and nine points).

“I feel better than last season, physically, mentally”, said Protas, “Like now, after last season I was kind of getting tired after like 10 minutes, 12 minutes; this season, a little better, now I feel like faster and stronger, so feels good.”

Protas confirmed that strengthening himself and skating was his main priority back home in Belarus; he discussed areas of improvement at the conclusion of last season. “Yep, pretty much the whole time, yeah.” He revealed that his weight is up to 235 pounds, and with a smile, confirmed his height is “6’6″.”

Despite being close to the final roster, Protas is not taking anything for granted, and believes that there is still work to do to ensure a roster spot.

“The same I did for the first couple weeks, compete”, he said of the steps he needs to take to start the season in the NHL, “Do everything I can, everyone that comes in for a spot is good, competition is good for everyone moving forward, just you get experience you’ll need for the future, so it’s great. Everybody getting better with compete, 100%.”

“I actually surprise myself every game”, Protas said, “So it’s pretty good. Just keep working, I’m happy to be here, enjoy staying with the guys; so now just, I need to prove what I can do on the ice, off the ice, that’s it.”

Protas admits that after working on his conditioning in the offseason, the difference is noticeable in game action and when on the ice, something T.J. Oshie noted earlier in camp. “Yeah, a hundred percent”, Protas admitted, “When I was in games right now, I realized I got better, there’s so much work left, so keep it going in the right direction.” The young forward also said that he worked with one of the best skating coaches in Belarus.

The Caps will open their season against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on October 12. If Protas’ final week of training camp is anything like the first few, there is a strong chance he will be donning an NHL sweater come the start of the season.

By Michael Fleetwood

More Reading on Protas:
Aliaksei Protas: 2022 Annual Review and Forecast
Aliaksei Protas Scores First NHL Goal in Victory over Carolina Hurricanes, Earns Post-Game Viking Axe
A Look At Billet Family Life with Capitals Prospect Aliaksei Protas

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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11 Responses to “I Need To Prove What I Can Do On the Ice, Off the Ice”: Aliaksei Protas Talks His Strong Training Camp, Potential of Making Final Roster

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Having had the pleasure of tracking and covering Protas since his draft day, I can tell you he is a sharp kid. He’s also a big reader. I recall the season he spent in the KHL, there would be social media pics from inside the team plan. All kinds of shenanigans would be going on, but there would be Protas in his seat, with his face buried in a book. Every time.

    • KimRB says:

      I’m very excited about him. What I really like about him, is that even at this tender age, he seems to understand that he doesn’t have to score to help his team win. He’s ready, willing and able to grind away, using his enormous wingspan to keep the cycle going. Definitely not a perimeter player. Would like to see him go to the net more, but maybe that’ll come. Maybe he tops out as a Viktor Kozlov, 40-50 point player, with good board presence. Or could be the Caps best pure grinder since Ulf Dahlen.

    • Jonathan says:

      That interview shows that intelligence, humility, and work ethic, and when relaxed, his natural sense of humor. What a great kid. He’s taken a big leap from season 1 to season 2, it’s exciting that he thinks he is a long way off from where he can be. I know that he’s nicknamed Viper, but I prefer Beast.

  2. Lance says:

    Protas was a great draft pick. He has improved every year since we drafted him. Has a great attitude.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Whether it be Protas or Leason or CMM or AJF or Clark or any combination thereof, I hope Lavi gives the BEST PLAYERS the roster spots and not just the veterans getting spots by default.

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