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Photo Credit: HC Dynamo Pardubice/Youtube

First Round Targets: MARTIN KAUT

One of the sleeper picks of this years draft, Martin Kaut has quietly been having one of the best seasons in the top Czech league by an eighteen year-old. He’s not overly flashy with the puck, but he brings smarts and competitiveness that culminate into a very well-rounded player. He’s not elite in one regard, but above-average in almost all aspects of the game.

Being projected in the twenty-five to thirty-five range, Kaut will certainly be an option for the Red Wings at pick 31/32 (depends on where Vegas finishes), 33 and 36. 

Eye Test

Kaut’s shot is one of his best attributes. Not a trigger man by any means, but he has the ability to pick his spot in what is one of the most accurate shots in the draft. I’m not a fan of his release – it’s not very deceptive – but it gets the job done.

Even when he’s not shooting he’s a threat with the puck. His passing game is severely underrated, mainly due to his smarts. He processes the game so well, he’s often in a position to feed his teammates with ease. You won’t see long stretch passes up the ice or threading the needle though defenders quite often (although he is still capable of doing so) but more so knowing where his teammates are and how to get them the puck.

“a skilled player. He moves the puck well, has a good shot and is extremely smart.” Said his coach at the World Juniors Filip Pesan. Pesan certainly got to see that first-hand, as Kaut proved to be a key player for the Czechs along side top-prospect Filip Zadina at the WJC.

Touching on other areas of his game, his skating could be a focal point for improvement. He is fine on his edges with great balance and agility, but speed and acceleration could use improvement. The NHL is a fast league that gives use no time to think. If he wants to translate his strengths to the big leagues he’ll have a difficult time doing so at the current state of his skating. However, just remember skating is something that can be improved upon. You can’t teach hockey IQ.

Everywhere else in his game is sound. He’s a hard worker who plays in both the hard and soft areas of the ice. He has almost no weaknesses in his game.

Stats

Stat nerds will love the Czech winger. He is one of the older prospects in this years draft, but he has been a scoring machine for a while. Going all the way back to his D – 4 season he lead the Czech U16 league in goals with thirty-seven. From there he went on to dominate the Czech U18 league being well over a point-per-game, and he even was scored a goal-per-game in the playoffs.

He worked his way up to the top Czech league this past season, recording sixteen points in thirty-eight games. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but for an eighteen year-old that is insane.

Graphic via s7dsn

From the graphic above, Kaut blows both former first round picks Filip Chytil and Martin Necas out of the water. Kaut is much older than both, but it gives use an idea of just how dominant he was for a player in his age range.

Internationally, its easy to point out his WJC performance where he put up seven points in seven games, but his entire résumé backs up his success. One that sticks out to me was his four points in five games at the Ivan Hlinka (his D – 2 season) en route to a gold medal.

Is it a Motor City match

In short, yes. Kaut makes a lot of sense for Detroit. They would have the option of bringing him over to the AHL right away to adjust to the North American ice. We could see him in the NHL as soon as the 2019-20 season.

Detroit also has a decent track record with players from the Czech Republic. Tomas Tatar being the best example, but even in recent memory with Filip Hronek, Libor Sulak and Martin Frk. There have been some mishaps along the way but they’ve shown they can find some talent there.

It all comes down to who is still on the board. Detroit could have as many as three cracks at him, in which could the leave the club shaking their heads in a few years if they choose to let him slip.