by Ryan Loberger | AHL On The Beat
When Martin Kaut walked across the stage at American Airlines Center as the 16th pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, there was little doubt the right-winger had the potential to play in the National Hockey League.
As a teenager leaving the Czech Republic for the first time, Kaut showed immediate promise as a top prospect in his first season in the American Hockey League. The youngest player on the 2018-19 Colorado Eagles’ roster at 19 years old, Kaut finished seventh on the team in scoring with a 26-point season (12 goals, 14 assists) in 63 games played.
Kaut’s offensive production continued to improve the following season as his points per game increased to above 0.50, recording 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 34 AHL games during a shortened season. Kaut skated in his firs NHL game on Feb. 19, 2020, and scored his first NHL goal a week later in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
That first NHL goal helped spur a hot streak to finish off the year. Before the AHL’s season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaut found consistency in his game, scoring 14 points in 17 games to finish out the regular season.
Now in his third AHL season, Kaut didn’t see much action at the beginning of the year, being part of the Avalanche’s taxi squad, then missed time due to an injury. Returning to the Eagles on March 3 and despite the obstacles, Kaut currently sits third in team scoring with 12 points in 11 games played.
The NHL is the ultimate goal for every player, and Kaut’s development under head coach Greg Cronin and the trust he’s built with the rest of the Eagles’ staff has put him in a place to make the jump in the future.
Kaut’s prowess on the power play has also shined through this season. Over his first two seasons, Kaut recorded three goals on the power play in a span of 97 games. He matched that total in just eight games this year.
Not only has Kaut produced at a high offensively, averaging over a point a game for the first time since coming to Loveland, but he has continued to grow as a 200-foot player, showing responsibility on both ends of the ice. Kaut has grown into his 6-foot-2 frame and is no longer a developing prospect playing alongside men. Now 20 pounds heavier than his rookie year, Kaut’s game has become well-rounded and his confidence on the ice has grown.
The experience gained over the past years developing in the AHL has helped Kaut into the top-six forward the Eagles need right now as players cycle back and forth between Loveland and the Avalanche in Denver. At this point, it seems the question is not if but when Kaut will become a mainstay at the next level.