Martin Kaut is heading back up I-25 North to Loveland after his most recent stint with the Colorado Avalanche, a four-game sample size that head coach Jared Bednar called mediocre.
“I thought he was just OK,” Bednar said Friday afternoon. “He probably has to get more involved, have better starts to the games.”
Kaut earned a call-up just over a week ago after a strong start to his season with the Colorado Eagles. After missing the first part of the AHL year due to an upper-body injury, Kaut returned and tallied five goals and 14 points in 13 games. Eagles head coach Greg Cronin recently told Colorado Hockey Now that he saw Kaut was “becoming more consistent” over the course of his three seasons in Loveland.
Kaut averaged roughly 8:30 of ice time per game during this most recent NHL stint. In Vegas on Wednesday, Kaut played just 5:22, the lowest totals of his career.
“I just try to look at our guys and evaluate the minutes that they play,” Bednar continued. “I look at a guy like, say, (Kiefer) Sherwood, who came into our lineup and made an impact in his first game. He plays a loud game, a physical game, he’s hard on pucks, he’s in on the forecheck, he’s making an impact. To me, that’s what we have to see.
“I didn’t see enough of it from Kauter, which is the reason why Sherwood is playing tonight and some of those other guys are gone.”
It’s the rough reality for a Martin Kaut, who was taken 16th overall by the Avalanche in the 2018 draft. Kaut is in his third year as a pro since coming over from the Czech Republic at 18 years old. Now, at the more ripe age of 21, Kaut has still only managed just 14 games of NHL action.
Kaut has mentioned “frustration” with his development in the past, and his reassignment to the AHL after another very brief call-up is sure to frustrate the former first-rounder even more.
“It’s about winning; it’s not about where you were drafted or what you’re doing down with the Eagles,” Bednar said. “Guys have to make an impact to help us win and we’ll set our lineup according to that. He was OK, but it’s going to have to be better to play on our roster.”
It’s unlikely Martin Kaut will get another call-up this season, and with other exciting young talent—namely top-forward prospect Alex Newhook—quickly moving up the ranks, Kaut could start to become buried under the immense depth of the Avalanche prospect pipeline.
It’s likely Newhook earns a spot on the Avalanche next season. Same with Logan O’Connor, who will be on a one-way NHL deal in 2021-22. Depending on who re-signs (i.e., Tyson Jost, Brandon Saad or both), and which roster player the Seattle Kraken take in the expansion draft this summer, there may only be one open spot to fill on next year’s NHL roster.
Can Martin Kaut earn it?