The Washington Capitals have announced a five-year, $16.875MM contract extension for centerman Aliaksei Protas. The new deal with carry an annual cap hit of $3.375MM. Protas has appeared in all but one of Washington’s 43 games this season, scoring three goals and 18 points. The 23-year-old has served in a bottom-six role, averaging just 13 minutes of ice time on the season, though he’s beginning to sneak into a larger role with an average of over 15 miuntes in his last five games.
Protas is appearing in just his third NHL season and this extension marks the first deal after his entry-level contract. The 23-year-old was selected by the Capitals in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft. He’s since played in the most games of any player selected outside that year’s top two rounds, managing 133 career games – scoring 42 points throughout. He was drafted from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, but made his professional debut overseas in the 2020-21 KHL season, scoring 10 goals and 18 points for the KHL’s Minsk Dynamo. He came over to North American pros at the end of Dynamo’s season and made his NHL debut in 2021-22, scoring nine goals in his first 33 games with the Capitals.
Protas satisfies a menagerie of trivia, standing as one of the league’s 10-tallest players and is one of just two Belarusians playing consistently in the NHL this season. In fact, he became just the ninth Belarusian to play 100 NHL games on January 2nd.