Martin Kaut just wanted more opportunity.
After his San Jose Sharks debut on Monday, the 2018 Colorado Avalanche first-round pick made waves when he shared that he had asked for a trade “probably five times during the five years” that he was with the Avs organization. Some fans took it to mean that Kaut was unhappy throughout his time in Colorado.
Kaut clarified on Wednesday to San Jose Hockey Now: “It wasn’t [during] my first year. I think the last two years, probably. They told me they didn’t wanna trade me, so that’s it.
“I told my agent [J.P. Barry]. He called Joe Sakic. He just asked and they said ‘No.’
“I focused on my play with the [Colorado] Eagles and the AHL.”
Kaut understands why he didn’t get as much opportunity as he hoped, despite strong seasons with the Eagles. Last year, the Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche were as deep up front as any team in the NHL. This season, Kaut made 27 appearances for the Avs, but he couldn’t break into the top-three lines of a still-deep forward group that’s looking to repeat.
“I played, this year with the Avs, like 30 games or something. Most of the time, I played on the fourth line with two [defensemen] and I played center. I’m a right wing,” he said on Monday. “Played four or five minutes [in a game].”
Meanwhile, in his first two games with the San Jose Sharks since he was swapped for fellow 2018 first-rounder Ryan Merkley last month, Kaut has averaged 15:32 a night. With the Avalanche, he was averaging 9:08 a night. The Czech winger even scored his first goal in teal yesterday, assisted by summer training partner and Sharks No. 1 center, Tomas Hertl.
But overall, Kaut enjoyed his time in Colorado.
“I really didn’t say anything bad about Colorado,” he insisted.
“I came to the AHL when I was 18. I didn’t speak great English. So it was hard, but the goaltender from the Czech [Republic], Pavel Francouz, he helped me a lot in the first year and the head coach [too], Greg Cronin,” he recalled. “He helped me a lot. He [taught] me small details on the ice, like D-zone, grabbing sticks, forecheck. He helped me out and I’m glad.
“I had a pretty good relationship with the staff and coaches.”
But the 23-year-old winger is now excited to start his next chapter with the San Jose Sharks: “I’m here right now. I’m gonna miss Colorado for sure, but this is a new chance, new start, for my life. I’m excited to be here.”
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