San Jose Sharks prospect Martin Kaut has signed a two-year deal with Czech Extraliga club HC Dynamo Pardubice, per a team announcement. The 2018 first-round pick will now head overseas with hopes of revitalizing his pro career.
Kaut’s posted solid offensive totals during his time in the minors, but it’s failed to translate to much of any NHL opportunity over the past five years. Originally a selection of the Colorado Avalanche, he found himself headed to San Jose via trade this season in a prospect-for-prospect swap that included defenseman Ryan Merkley headed the other way.
He’d appeared in regular-season games for Colorado (and later San Jose) in each of the past four seasons, joining their AHL affiliate (the Colorado Eagles) immediately after being drafted in 2018. He’s totaled 50 goals and 113 points across 192 games in five AHL seasons, and he had a strong finish to the season with the San Jose Barracuda with three goals and 14 points in 19 games.
Despite also recording five points in nine NHL games with the Sharks, easily his best NHL showing, Kaut believes extended playing time back overseas is the best option for his continued development. It won’t be his first time playing for Pardubice, though – he was loaned there in 2020 with the NHL season delayed due to the COVID pandemic, and he recorded nine goals and 16 points in 38 games there during his draft year, 2017-18.
A physically inclined passer who’s proficient on the man advantage, Kaut recorded just six points in 47 games with the Avs before they decided to cut ties. He’s surely destined for a top-nine role with his Czech team and has much more upward mobility there than in the NHL, although the merits of European pro hockey versus North American minor hockey remain a contested debate.
San Jose issued Kaut a qualifying offer last month, meaning that if he does wish to return to the NHL in the summer of 2025, it’ll be with the Sharks – unless they trade his rights somewhere else.