I know a few of you out there might have been surprised at the news this morning from the Avalanche, that they sent Martin Kaut back to the Colorado Eagles, while recalling defenseman Kevin Connauton and forward Sheldon Dries.
After all, didn’t Martin Kaut just score two goals in the past week or so? Isn’t he a first-round pick who not only could (and has already) come in useful in the place of the still-injured guys and maybe as a depth forward for the playoffs?
Yes, he is and yes, he could have. But in this case, Joe Sakic did the smart thing in sending him back down.
The biggest reason why this happened is financial. If Kaut had played 10 games this season, the first year of his entry-level contract would have been “burned”, i.e., he’d be one full year into his free-agency career-ladder progression.
By sending him back, the Avs can play him next season in Year 1 of his contract progression, not Year 2. It’s the exact same thing the Avs did to Mikko Rantanen way back in 2015-16. They played Mikko nine games that season, then sent him back to San Antonio of the AHL. By doing that, Rantanen only is in the first year coming out of his ELC contract this season. Otherwise, he could have been a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season in which he had 84 points in 81 games. Instead, Mikko couldn’t really cash in until after the 2018-19 season in which he had 87 points.
Capfriendly documents how Kaut had an age and contract that the Avs could “slide” another year:
Besides, with some injured guys coming back soon, Kaut’s ice time would have gone down. Now he can go back to the Eagles, play a lot more and still know that he got a nice taste of life in the NHL, had some success and come back hungry to stick next year.