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Protas ‘Not Happy’ With Recent Play, Seeks Capitals’ Trust



Washington Capitals Aliaksei Protas

Over the last few games, Aliaksei Protas has put himself back on the radar for the Washington Capitals. And while he feels he’s building on his game and adapting well to the NHL, he’s not entirely satisfied with how things have gone for him of late.

After making noise in the preseason and cracking the Capitals roster, Protas saw things slow down a bit to start the season. He went the first six games without a point before getting on the scoresheet on Monday. Since then, he has put up three points (two goals, one assist) in his last three games.

“I get more confidence for sure, but last couple games, I’m not happy,” Protas said after scoring in Saturday’s win over the Nashville Predators. “I got to earn the coach’s turst every shift, I can’t take a shift off. Couple games weren’t the best, so we got to keep getting better.”

There are a few areas where the 21-year-old stressed the need for improvement: his physicality. When the 6-6 forward utilizes his frame and wingspan, he can win pucks and be hard to get past as well.

“Just work, do what the coaches want me to do. Wo hard, play more physical. That’s my weaknesses I believe right now,” Protas added. “Just skate and winning battles. Help my teammates to win.”

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Protas is currently skating on the third line wing alongside Anthony Mantha and Lars Eller, and he may find himself moving around with T.J. Oshie now injured again (though it’s unclear if he’ll be out long-term), along with Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin, Connor Brown and potentially John Carlson.

The Belarusian has shown he is a versatile player that has shown he can fit anywhere, and he also knows what it takes to make an impact at the NHL level.

“I describe myself like, a player who can play everywhere. The coach wants to play me on the wing, I’ll play on the wing, center, center,” Protas said. “If I will need to help the team on the PK, I’ll do that. Like on the power play. Doesn’t matter for me… I’ll do whatever the coaches tell me to do. It doesn’t matter for me where I’ll play. I’ll play anywhere.”