Illustration photo – Meeting of the Czech hockey team in preparation for the World Cup and Euro Hockey Challenge matches with Austria, April 24, 2023, Brno. Martin Kaut and goalkeeper Dominik Pavlát.
Brno – After five years, forward Martin Kaut will wear the jersey of the Czech hockey national team again and hopes to win his first participation in the World Cup in the final weeks of preparation. The 23-year-old student of Žďár nad Sázavou moved from Colorado to San Jose at the end of January, where he would like to finally find a solid place in the NHL lineup without constantly commuting to the farm. Kaut's three-year rookie contract is coming to an end and he is believed to agree to a new contract with the Sharks as a protected free agent. But if it is not one-way, he is decided on option B, which is a return to extra-league Pardubice.
Although he does not have a future confirmed by signing, he did not hesitate to take advantage of the invitation to the national team. “I'm still a young guy and it should be an honor to represent everyone like that. I didn't hesitate for a second when Mr. (general manager Martin) Havlát called me. It was always my dream to play in the championship and I believe that I will win it here and I will make the final nomination,” Kaut told journalists.
Colorado selected Kaut in the 18th round of the 2018 draft, and he immediately went from Pardubice to the AHL to the Colorado Eagles. In the second season in North America, he also played nine games in the NHL, in which he had two goals and one assist. Before leaving for San Jose, however, his number of starts in the NHL increased to only 47 and a balance of 3+3. In San Jose, he got a chance in nine duels, scoring three times and adding two assists. He admitted that the season was difficult.
“But on the other hand, I wanted the trade, so I was very happy for it. I think I was a little lucky that it was to San Jose. I had much more chances there than in Colorado. Hertlík (Tomáš Hertl) and Ším (Radim Šimek),” said Kaut, who believes in an agreement with the Sharks.
He also had hints during the exit interviews. “We talked, they said that they were happy with me and would like me to stay, but now it will be decided under what conditions, because I would no longer sign a two-way contract. I'm waiting to see if they offer me a one-way contract, if they don't, I have option B and I would return to Europe,” he stated.
He would head to Pardubice, where he briefly appeared in the 2020/21 season during the postponed competitions in North America due to the coronavirus, before going to MoDo Hockey in Sweden's Örnsköldsvik. Dynamo wanted him already in the season. “But it wasn't close at all, because Colorado wouldn't let me go anyway. But the interest was there, and Pardubky would probably be the first option. I have nothing to hide. My name has been discussed at Dynamo for a long time, so it wouldn't be bad to return for a year. But the first the option is to stay in San Jose with a one-way contract,” pointed out Kaut.
According to him, it could be clearer at the end of June around the draft in Nashville. He realizes that interest in Swedish Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who became the first back in 31 years in the NHL to break the 100-point mark in a season, can influence the situation. “I don't know if they will trade Karlsson. There is a lot of speculation. They can get a lot of big goods back for him, so we'll see. But I had a positive exit interview, so hopefully it will turn out well,” he stated.
He could also meet the club's representatives at the championship. “For America, the entire management from San Jose is there, both the head coach and the assistants. If we met America somewhere, we would beat them and it worked out for me, it would probably help. But somehow I haven't looked at that until now, if it would it helped me with the contract. It's mainly my dream to play in the championship and I'll do anything for that,” said Kaut.
Although he is a native of Brno, the national team's matches against Austria on Saturday and next week at the Czech Games there will not be anything special for him from this point of view. “I was only born in Brno, but I grew up in Žďár nad Sázavou. When I was fifteen, I decided whether I would go with Martin Nečas to Brno or to Pardubice to see my brother. I decided to go see my brother. I never I won't regret it, because if I had been here with Neč, we probably wouldn't have had the same icetime,” he described his decision whether to grow up in Kometa with his peer and current star of Carolina, or to go to Pardubice with his ten years older sibling Tomáš.
He is still in contact with Nečas and is proud that, as two Žďár nad Sázavou wards, they played against each other in the NHL. “We write and call each other every day, we grew up together and I believe that now they will make it to the first round and go as far as possible. I would also like him to win the Stanley Cup, but this year the favorite is probably Pasta (David Pastrňák) with Boston, so they will have a hard time, ” noted Kaut, who still mainly wishes for the goalkeeper Pavlo Francouz, a former teammate from Colorado. “Frančík the most and then probably Neči. Neči knows it's like this,” laughed Kaut.