With the Colorado Avalanche finding some playoff success last season, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic used the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to set up his team for the future.
Following a huge trade with the Washington Capitals that had the Avalanche acquiring defenseman Brooks Orpik and goaltender Phillip Grubauer, Sakic selected Czech forward Martin Kaut with the 16th overall pick in the draft.
Recently Kaut showcased his talent as a member of the HC Dynamo Pardubice of the top Czech league in the Extraliiga and also put his abilities on display during the 2018 IIHF World Juniors tournament, where the Czech Republic finished fourth behind USA, Sweden, and Canada.
(Video courtesy of Hockey Draft Central / Youtube)
Drawing comparisons to recently retired Marian Hossa, Kaut has already been gaining plenty of attention since being drafted to the Avalanche. Known as a strong two-way forward, Kaut has the potential to help out the Avalanche immediately — a team who struggled with depth scoring and defense last season, despite qualifying for the playoffs and forcing the President Trophy winning Nashville Predators to six games.
What will Kaut bring to the Avalanche?
Time will tell if Kaut will indeed be in an Avalanche sweater for any of the 2019 season or if he will spend his season with the Colorado Eagles in Loveland, but there is no denying that Kaut has the potential to be a depth player for years to come with the Avalanche organization.
For years the Avalanche have lacked a strong right-handed right winger who is capable of gaining the advantage on loose pucks and rebounds on his dominant right side. With the addition of Kaut, the Avalanche have been able to address this important facet of the game and fill a void they’ve in their depth chart that has been lacked for several seasons.
After a poor display at the Five Nations tournament, Kaut was able to redeem himself with a strong showing at the World Juniors Championship by finishing the tournament with seven points in seven games played. Playing on a line with Martin Necas and Filip Zadina, Kaut was able to display his strong playmaking ability with top-end talent, while also being able to convert on scoring chances of his own.
To sum it all up, Kaut is a strong end-to-end player who uses his strong hockey sense to position himself in key areas of the ice to make plays for himself or his teammates. His off the puck movement allows him to set up in opportune areas to create scoring chances for himself, and his vision is exceptional as he will often make perfect passes to teammates cutting through passing lanes as they transition up the ice, or by setting up easy opportunities for his teammates to bury.
Areas to improve
If Kaut is unable to make the Avalanche roster following training camp and has to spend time in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles just up the road, here are some areas of improvement for the young forward.
Although Kaut had a good performance during the World Juniors Championship against grown men, there is still some room for physical improvement for Kaut before the Colorado Avalanche training camp. Despite being undersized, he will turn some heads by his ability to stay strong on the puck so gaining size and strength will give Kaut tremendous upside in the long run.
Although Kaut was able to salvage his draft stock with a solid performance during the World Juniors following his disappointing Five Nations tournament performance, a few concerns arise in his ability to be a consistent point producer.
“the combination of his passing and shooting ability makes him a threat on the powerplay,” – Draftin Europe 2018
“One thing I love about the WJC is being able to see a teenage player with a checking role on an adult team play top-line minutes against his peers. Kaut, an energy player for Pardubice, had an outstanding world juniors debut by picking up three assists — all primary — while playing the wing with Zadina and Necas. All three of his passes were right on the tape or in a perfect spot to unload from, as the tallies from both Necas and Kral were one-timers off dishes from Kaut, who was the 24th pick in the 2017 CHL Import Draft but chose to stay with Pardubice for another season. Keep in mind, Kaut isn’t just some sort of flashy playmaker — he’s a highly-responsible 200-foot player who plays in all situations.” –Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
#WJC: LW Filip Zadina (Ranked No. 3) scores after another nice set-up from RW Martin Kaut (Ranked No. 63). Goal and an assist apiece for Zadina & Necas (CAR), and 2 assists for Kaut. Czechs take a 3-2 lead on the PP after Russia's LHD Yegor Zaitsev (NJD) was called for a penalty pic.twitter.com/U5xzyQ3qh0
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 26, 2017