Protas, 18, came over from Belarus to play for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL last season but took a while to get acclimated to the North American game. Scoring just 11 goals and 40 points in 61 regular season games, he also helped his country to a silver medal at the D1A World Juniors (those countries that do not qualify for the top tournament) before taking off in the WHL playoffs. The 6’5″ forward recorded 12 goals and 22 points in 23 games to help the Raiders to a WHL title and Memorial Cup berth.
His low point totals in the regular season can be somewhat explained by the tremendous depth that Prince Albert had as one of the very best teams in the CHL. The fact that by the time the playoffs rolled around Protas was a key part of that team—along with fellow Washington draft pick Brett Leason—can only be seen as a positive, and something that should have Capitals fans excited for his future. Even with his new NHL contract it is much more likely that Protas returns to the WHL next season and continues his development, meaning the deal will slide forward at least one year.