The list of young players and prospects who will at least begin the 2020-21 season overseas continues to grow, with the Washington Capitals’ Aliaksei Protas now joining the list. The team announced that the young forward has been loaned to the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk in his native Belarus. Washington does specify though that Protas is expected to be recalled from the loan at the start of the WHL season or for Capitals training camp later this winter.
Protas, 19, was a third-round pick of the Capitals in last year’s NHL Draft and signed his entry-level contract with Washington almost immediately. A hulking center who stands 6’6” and 210 pounds, Protas’ skill finally caught up with his size this year as he recorded 31 goals and 80 points in 58 games to lead the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders in both categories and help the team to a division title. With top 2020 prospects like Kaiden Guhle and Ozzy Weisblatt also on the roster, the Raiders could return to the top ranks of the WHL next season if Protas returns as expected.
In the meantime though, Protas joins a Minsk squad that has been collecting NHL prospects and should be a fun team to watch early next season. Florida’s Vladislav Kolyachonok, Minnesota’s Ivan Lodnia, Philadelphia’s Maxim Sushko, and New Jersey’s Yegor Sharangovich – all of Belarussian descent – will also join the team on loan, joining NHL vets such as Ryan Spooner and Rob Klinkhammer.