The Washington Capitals are making more roster moves as they continue the second-half playoff push. This time, Aliaksei Protas is headed to Hershey after being re-assigned on Friday.
Protas saw a breakthrough and made an impressive NHL jump this season amid injuries and COVID-19. The 6-6, 225-pound forward put up three goals and six assists in 33 games this season, and also got time playing top-6 minutes and also skating on the first and second lines, as well as the PP1 unit.
In eight games with the Bears this season, Protas has a goal and four assists.
With Protas returning to Hershey, the Capitals are sticking with Joe Snively and Brett Leason up on the main roster. Leason had come up from Hershey with Alex Ovechkin unavailable against Montreal due to Canada’s strict COVID-19 protocols. Leason had a shot, a hit and a takeaway in 8:44 minutes played against Montreal.
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Snively, meanwhile, has taken the Capitals by storm and has made quite the case to stay up in the NHL. The Little Caps alum and Herndon, V.a. native has five points in six games with Washington star and put on a show with two goals and an assist in a key 5-2 victory over the Habs on Thursday. He is the first Virginia native to score for Washington and just third Virginia-born player ever to score an NHL goal.
Laviolette added that Snively, 26, also brings a lot to the top line and has proven that he can play NHL minutes.
“He’s detailed, he’s tenacious, he’s quick, he’s got a good skill level. You notice him the battles, you notice him when he has open space, then you notice that he can make plays as well,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of Snively, adding, “He does a good job. He brings a lot of tenacity to the game.”
With Hershey, Protas will be available to benefit from more ice time and game action rather than sitting as an extra up at the NHL level. The Capitals originally took Protas at No. 91 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.