Martin Kaut, HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech)
Position: Right Wing
Age on Draft Day: 18.72
Height/Weight: 6’2, 176 pounds
2017-2018 SHL Stats (Including Playoffs): 45 GP, 12 G, 9 A, 18 PIM, +7
NHL Central Scouting: 4th (European Skaters)
ISS Hockey: 13th
Future Considerations: 22nd
Canucks Army: 26th
Scott Wheeler: 29th
Craig Button (TSN): 47th
I have seen Kaut play a decent amount, and I have thoughts about him. But sometimes you have to know your place. There aren’t many people in the public domain who are more qualified to speak on Kaut than our own Alex Nunn, who has been closely following him dating back to last summer. I’ll have a few thoughts at the end, but for most part this is going to be Alex’s show.
Czech winger Martin Kaut keeps his game smart and simple, utilising great on-ice vision, deceptive playmaking ability, and a sneaky shot release to put up points at both club and international level. He doesn’t overthink things and sticks to his limitations, which leaves him largely mistake-free in key areas.
Positional awareness is a real strength for Kaut and he knows where to be on the ice at all times. He pickpockets possession from opposing defensemen, tracks back to snuff out developing neutral-zone chances, and battles hard for pucks in his own end. He’s a 200-foot player who understands his responsibilities and relishes the leg work.
(Editor’s Note: Provided by Alex, here are a couple of pickpocketing examples from Kaut which led to goals.)
Kaut moves around well with a strong base and good straight-line speed. He’s not the most dynamic on his feet, but an ability to find and exploit open pockets of space in the offensive zone keeps it from being a legitimate handicap at the top level.
Kaut enjoyed a strong season with Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga as a mid-six checking-line player, while starring alongside Martin Nečas and Filip Zadina at the World Juniors. He’ll never be the headline-maker on his line, but he’s usually always integral to the success of it.
Although not flashy and likely lacking the high-end ceiling of some other draft-eligibles, Kaut’s a good bet for future NHL production because of his approach, understanding, and well-rounded game. He’s not truly elite in any one area though above-average across the board; Kaut won’t put your jaw on the floor with a highlight-reel dangle but he makes the key passes and deposits high-danger chances in the net far more often than not.
I’m going to just briefly dive into the stats here. One of the reasons I - and many other people - undersold Filip Chytil last summer is because I underestimated how difficult it is for young players to score in the Czech Extraliga. Kaut’s 12 goals and nine assists in 45 games played is a very good number, though it should be pointed out that as an October 1999 birthday, he is one of the oldest players available in the 2018 draft. Also encouraging is that just one of his 12 combined regular season and playoff goals was on the power play. Though European ice is of course bigger, he’s producing at five-on-five and is not relying on offensive situations to collect easy points.
As Canucks Army pointed out, Kaut has put himself in a group of very qualified past and present players. His production in the Czech Extraliga closely resembles that from the likes of Jan Hlavac, Miroslav Satan, Milan Michalek, and Pavol Demitra among others. Do I think Kaut becomes a point-per-game player in his prime as Satan and Demitra were? It’s unlikely. He is probably not a player who serves as the foundation of your team.
I do think there is a lot of reasons to be hopeful that he can fall into the next tier, though. A consist 20-25 goal scorer and 50-55 point producer. He won’t carry a line, but will feed well into what other skilled players are trying to do. That’s exactly the role he had at the World Junior Championship, where he developed great chemistry with center Martin Necas.
It’s worth noting, too, that Kaut has a fair amount of experience playing on Filip Chytil’s wing. That’s not something that should have meaningful influence in terms of the draft board. If he does happen to end up in the Rangers’ organization, though, that familiarity certainly would only help the two players.
While one would hope a better player drops to the Rangers, Kaut maybe represents the most plausible but satisfying option at either 26th or 28th overall. It’s possible a team with a higher pick in the draft ranks him high on their board and selects him early, and it’s also possible that a series of events causes him to fall into the second round.
In all likelihood, though, Kaut seems like a pretty safe bet to go in the 23-30 range. Drafting for need can be a slippery slope, but all things being equal Kaut definitely addresses a weak point in the Rangers’ prospect pool; scoring wingers. At this point in our rankings, he is far and away the best winger remaining on the board, in my opinion. I have no insider knowledge concerning the Rangers’ draft board (regarding Kaut, at least). Looking from afar, though, he is probably a name Rangers fans should shortlist for one of the team’s two late first-round selections.
What Others Have Said
Pardubice U20 Head Coach Richard Král (via iDNES and Google Translate):
“He reads the game well. He is a very good skater, a very honest player who can create chances for other teammates on ice.”