The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers have ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2021 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
Martin Kaut, the first round draft pick for the Colorado Avalanche in 2018, comes in nine on our Top 25 Under 25 list. Coming right over to North America after the draft, Kaut has spent the last three seasons with the Colorado Eagles of the AHL, playing 117 games in that time. This past season he played 20 games, scoring six times and adding 10 assists. In total he has 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points in his AHL career.
The 21-year old has had a taste of the NHL as well. In the 2019-20 season he played nine games, scoring twice and adding an assist. After the 9-game audition, the Avalanche decided to send him back to the AHL to preserve the ELC, giving them the extra year of a cheap contract. At the time it made sense, but there was a debate among the Avalanche fandom, that because he didn’t look out of place, the Avalanche should just keep playing him in the NHL.
When he returned to training camp this past January, he failed to make the team, and was sent down to the Eagles. He was called up later in the year, playing in five games, with limited minutes. It was clear there was a lack of trust between the coaching staff and Kaut. In those five games he did not play well and Jared Bednar said, after his final call up, “I thought he was just Ok. He has to get more involved, and have better starts to games.”
During his AHL time this past year, I did think Kaut was coming into his own. He was dominant for long stretches of games, consistent from game to game, and put up the numbers you like to see from a high end prospect.
So where does this leave us now? Camp is right around the corner and many do not have Kaut penciled into the opening day lineup. The Avalanche actively went out and got players who will block Kaut on the depth chart (Helm & Maltsev). He’s going to need to earn a spot on the roster.
Are we at the point where he needs to make the team straight out of camp? Are we entering “bust” territory? Should the Avalanche explore moving him in a deal where another team sends back a disappointing prospect for a new opportunity?
Training camp this year will be huge for him. While Kaut making the team out of camp looks to be a stretch because of the players in front of him, he needs to make an impact. He needs to impress. Kaut needs to walk in, and make a statement that he is ready for the big show and be on top of the call up list. Kaut will never be that flashy high skilled guy. That’s not his game. He is a guy who will round out any line he is on by doing the dirty work in the corners, backchecking hard, making the simple smart plays, and not dragging is line down. Kaut has the ability to play with high skill players. We saw at the WJC in Vancouver, he didn’t look out of place playing with Martin Necas. He can play up and down the line up.
While I have always wanted the Avalanche to take their time with prospects, and never rushing them , 117 AHL games later, it feels like the time is now for Kaut. I’m still hopeful that he will get a chance this year and he will stick. Kaut has the potential to be a player that can do a lot for this team. But the runway for him is running out.
t10 Jean-Luc Foudy
t10 Logan O’Connor
#12 Justus Annunen
#13: Oskar Olausson
#14: Shane Bowers
#15: Drew Helleson
#16: Sean Behrens
#17: Mikhail Maltsev
#18: Alex Beaucage
#19: Trent Miner
#20: Colby Ambrosio
#21: Dennis Gilbert
#22: Daniil Zhuravlyov
#23: Tyler Weiss
#24: Nikolai Kovalenko
#25: Nick Henry