I met him after practice in the hallway outside of the Colorado Eagles locker room at Budweiser Events Center. It was December 2019, roughly a year-and-a-half since the Avalanche had selected him in the first round of the 2018 draft.
At the time, Martin Kaut had just returned from a concussion, which had sidelined him for roughly six weeks, when we spoke. I asked the Eagles forward how he’d felt his development had gone as he entered the second half of his sophomore season in the pro ranks.
“It’s frustration,” Kaut said honestly.
He said he felt like he was playing the right way, but was frustrated that the points weren’t coming. His status as the 16th-overall pick of the Avs led to his feelings of first-round pressure, and perhaps he felt like he needed to be—or should’ve already been—a prolific scorer in the league.
“If you were drafted in the first round and you didn’t have points, (you did something) wrong,” he added.
Indeed, Kaut was dealing with the mental pressures of meeting the expectations of being a first-round pick. For Kaut, the metrics he was judging himself by were the tangible ones on the stat sheet. Production, however, isn’t always seen on the stat sheet, and this is something Kaut is beginning to embrace.
Now rounding out his third year in the AHL, Martin Kaut has slowly developed into a different kind of player, and he’s starting to forge an identity for himself.