Protas shines as Caps drop preseason contest in Columbus

Protas shines as Caps drop preseason contest in Columbus originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In a preseason contest that featured several veterans, it was a prospect who stood out for the Capitals in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. One night after logging 19:53 of playing time in Detroit, Protas played another 15:03 Saturday as he logged his first goal of the preseason and Washington's only tally of the night.

On a delayed penalty in the first period, the Caps wore down Columbus with about a minute of offensive zone time before Protas tucked in a rebound off of a shot from Anthony Mantha. The goal is his first of the preseason and his second point.

Protas has now played in all four of Washington's preseason games as he appears to be getting a long look for a spot on the NHL roster.

Protas played in 33 games with three goals and six assists last season for the Caps in his rookie season. He is a natural center and played between Mantha and Garnet Hathaway in Columbus, but he can play wing as well and spent much of the 2021-22 season there in the NHL.

Even with Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom out injured to start the season, the additions of Dylan Strome and Connor Brown likely means the Caps know who their top 12 forwards are. The No. 13 spot, however, is still up for grabs and Protas certainly seems to be doing everything he can to put his name in consideration for the job.