For the 2018 SBNation Mock NHL Draft, the Copper and Blue are happy to select 6’1, 185lb, RW Martin Kaut! Kaut’s most frequent comparable is Marian Hossa, he is known for strong 2 way play, good speed, very creative with a very good shot (both wrist and slapshot) and a very professional approach to his game. Here are his stats.
What? Not the pick you were expecting?
Here is, in order, who I was hoping would be available at 10: Bouchard, Boquist, Dobson, Hughes, Kaut, Wahlstrom and Veleno
So I was a bit surprised when I got the email saying we got Kaut. I admit I’d rather have one of the Dmen on that list but they were all gone. Having said that, I’ve been following him pretty closely and am convinced he is the next first round steal from the Czech Republic (Pastrnak and Chytil in the 20s, Hertl in late teens, Ondrej Kase in Round 7).
If you’d never heard of Kaut before Christmas I wouldn’t say I blamed you. Before the season he was projected anywhere between round 2 and 7 and not even being considered a first round pick. He began the season ranked 11th for European Skaters and ended it ranked 4th. It all began at the World Juniors.
Unheralded Kaut showed up and ended up getting 7 points in 7 games. That is a tremendous showing for a player in his draft year. If you look closer he was also a member of the Gold Medal winning Czech team at the Ivan Hlinka Tourney where he had 4 points in 5 games. He took that World Junior success back to the Extraliga (Czech pro league where he played against men as an 18 year old) where he started scoring much more consistently and turning heads. He kept that streak going to the Playoffs where he got 5 points in 7 playoff games (noticing a trend yet in clutch games?).
All this translated to Kaut getting an invite to tryout for the Czech National team at the World Championships in Denmark this Spring. Kaut was a point per game player for his first few games there as well. He really impressed people with his ‘professional approach’ to the game and how he played a very balanced two way game. Kaut initially made the Czech squad. Do you know who didn’t? Filip Zadina (who went 3rd overall in this mock draft to Montreal). When the coach was asked, he said Zadina still played a bit like a junior player and his game wasn’t polished enough yet. So the Czech Senior National team just took Kaut over Filip Zadina less than a month ago. Kaut ended up joining Necas and Chytil on that team and was the youngest member of the team. For those wondering, Ostap Safin didn’t even get an invite despite a youth movement with the Czechs as they try to get out of their very own ‘Decade of Darkness’.
Unfortunately Kaut ended up not playing. Boston got eliminated and David Pastrnak and David Krejci were late additions and he was cut to make space for them.
Speaking of Zadina and the Habs. Their SBNation site Habseyeontheprize has an excellent review on Kaut:
My big takeaway from that article was this:
Kaut is one of those guys that just keeps rising to the challenge and getting better every week. He almost made the World Championships as an 18 year old and keeps having strong international tournaments as well as playoff series against adults.
The Oil also happen to not be that strong in the RW position. Kaut has proven he can play well with excellent players. This may sound odd but some players struggle adjusting to how Elite players think. While the Oil is a bit weak on RW, we are quite strong on Elite Centres. In fact we have two of them locked in for 20 million a year starting NOW. I could honestly see Kaut slipping in on one of their wings and continuing to show well in important games and continuing to improve. If not, he will be in the NHL a year from now and then our RW situation would have Kaut and Yamamoto on ELC’s competing for spots in the Top 6 which is a great problem to have.
Kaut does need to improve his footspeed a little and has not played in North America which are two drawbacks. It would be tough for him to crack the NHL next season but he might be able to get the 10 game tryout. He also very recently had a heart issue discovered but, by all accounts, that has been taken care of and will not affect his draft status.
So that was the Copper and Blue pick. Looking at the first 9 picks I’d say it is the first big surprise of this mock draft. Here is who was taken ahead of 10. Who would you have taken? Or would you trade the pick?