The Washington Capitals announced Saturday afternoon that they have loaned forward Aliaksei Protas to the Hershey Bears. The move was made to make room on the roster for the return of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson, which was announced earlier in the day.
Protas, who is waivers-exempt this season, was a healthy scratch before Friday night’s game against the Nashville Predators, indicating he was likely returning to the Bears to make room on the roster for the return of Backstrom and Wilson.
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ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned forward Aliaksei Protas to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Protas, 22, has recorded 10 points (3g, 7a) in 41 games with Washington this season. The 6’6″, 235-pound forward has recorded a 54.7 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five (444 shot attempts for, 367 shot attempts against) this season, which is the second-highest rate on the team. Protas appeared in 33 games with Washington during the 2021-22 season, ranking second among Capitals rookies in plus/minus (+4) and third in points (9). In 74 career NHL games with the Capitals, Protas has recorded 19 points (6g, 13a).
The Vitebsk, Belarus native recorded 24 points (8g, 16a) in 42 games with Hershey during the 2021-22 season, establishing AHL career highs in goals, assists, points and power play goals (2). Protas has recorded 31 points (10g, 21a) in 58 career AHL games with Hershey.
The Capitals selected Protas with their third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
The Capitals now have 22 players on their active roster and will need to make one additional move prior to the official return of Backstrom and Wilson. It’s likely the Capitals will try to move Joe Snively to Hershey, but he will require going through waivers to make the return.
The Bears, who currently hold the best record in the AHL, are back in action tonight when they host the Charlotte Checkers at Giant Center. It’s expected that Protas will be in the lineup. As he did previously, Protas will wear #40 for Hershey.
By Jon Sorensen