Assessing Aliaksei Protas’ Line Performances For The 2022-23 Season: What Worked (And What Didn’t Work)

We continue our analysis of the performance of the Washington Capitals forward group for the 2022-23 season by taking a closer look at the performance of each and every line combination deployed for each of the Capitals forwards over the course of the season.

The refined look attempts to glean additional insight into what worked and what didn’t work, on a line-by-line case, and assist in identifying specific “needs” the team will have for the upcoming season.

Previous Line Assessments:

Today’s focus is on Aliaksei Protas. Protas recorded four goals and 11 assists in 58 games played for the Capitals last season. He finished with a personal expected goals for percentage of 54.56% on the season, second-best on the Capitals, while seeing just a 30.36% offensive zone starts.


The following graph plots all of the line combinations deployed with Protas for the 2022-23 season at five-on-five (sans lines that included Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway).

The graph includes the total time each line was on the ice (TOI), the percentage of offensive zone faceoffs each line was on the ice for (OZFO%), the expected goals differential (xGF – xGA) and the expected goals for percentage (xGF%) deployed at five-on-five. [Click to enlarge].

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]

Note: The thin horizontal red line above bifurcates the positive and negative expected goals for percentages for all of the line combinations.


We previously discussed the performance of the Protas-Dowd-Aube-Kubel line in the Dowd and Aube-Kubel line evaluations, but it bears reiterating that the line posted positive possession metrics with barely any offensive zone shift starts. That’s impressive. We will likely see that fourth-line combination quite a bit in the coming season, depending on results from training camp position battles.

As mentioned in the Aube-Kubel line performance review, The Malenstyn-Protas-Aube-Kubel line is an interesting consideration of potential things to come. The line saw just 15.03 of time on ice at five on five, but managed a respectable expected goals for percentage of 48.4%, all while seeing a majority of their zone starts in the defensive zone. If Malenstyn makes the team this fall, we should see a lot more of this line combination.


There was not much in the way of not working for Protas with regards to overall line possession metrics. The Protas-Kuznetsov-Mantha line registered an underwhelming 41.2% expected goals for percentage and more than 80% offensive zone starts, but was deployed just a little over eight minutes of total ice time at five on five.


As previously noted, lines that included Garnet Hathaway and other players that departed at the trade deadline are not included. However, it should be added that Protas did well on the 4th line with Dowd and Hathaway.

As we noted in our previous post on the fourth line options, Protas settled in at the “Hagelin Spot” and did well on the fourth line during the Malenstyn absence (injury) last season. So much so the Capitals didn’t rush Malenstyn back from his conditioning stint in Hershey. It will be interesting to see where the new coaching regime lands on the fourth line options.

Protas’ overall utility makes him a valued asset, even if he were to fall to the 13th forward spot on the roster.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Assessing Aliaksei Protas’ Line Performances For The 2022-23 Season: What Worked (And What Didn’t Work)

  1. Sprak says:

    Protas probably is the only cap’s youngster in the forward core that will get 82 games. The team’s skating coach probably helps him reach a new level in his skating over the offseason, and he was probably told in his exit interview to work on playing the body more. I would think that the Milano-Backy-Protas line probably starts the season as our “3rd” line, but he would also be useful as the 4th LW. These next 8 wins with Hershey are probably his last in the AHL.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s a big body but needs to work on adding muscle and improving his stamina. He gets gassed too easy.

  2. Prevent Defense says:

    Can’t wait for tonight’s Game One, Hershey vs. Rochester!

    It’s time for some of these fancy “talents” on the Bears roster to get their **** in one sock and start scoring playoff goals in bunches

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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