In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL draft, we're providing prospect profiles and how those players would fit with the Flyers, who have two first-round picks — Nos. 14 and 19.
The NHL draft takes place June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Flyers have nine picks with two in the first, fifth and seventh rounds and one in the second, fourth and sixth. They do not own a third-rounder as it went to the Detroit Red Wings for Petr Mrazek. The 14th pick conveyed from the Brayden Schenn trade. The final details were Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick (Morgan Frost) and the 14th pick.
Our prospect profiles will touch mostly on prospects projected to go in the 10-20 range but some may require the Flyers having to trade up to select. We’ll identify those prospects.
Position: Right winger
Team: HC Dynamo Pardubice, Extraliga
Kaut took a big jump over the latter half of the season as his play improved with Pardubice in Extraliga (the highest level of pro hockey in the Czech Republic) and with the Czech national team at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he scored seven points in seven games.
The most noticeable trait that stands out for me is his unselfish, playmaking ability in which he has very good instincts and seems to possess an elite hockey sense of where his teammates are on the ice at all times. He appears most comfortable on the power play, where he sets up in the left circle.
Although he’s not a ferocious forechecker, Kaut is very good at protecting the puck in the corners and along the boards. Defenders have a tough time digging the puck out from under him.
Kaut also doesn’t shy away from backchecking as he’s very good at using his body, particularly his hips and stick defensively to play a disruptive game and separate the opponent from the puck. For his 6-foot-1 frame, Kaut skates well but seems to lack the explosiveness that can separate him from a defender.
There’s nothing that Kaut does tremendously well, but he has a lot of very good attributes to his game that would carry over to the NHL. Although he has an impressive release on his shot, I don’t see him as being a high goal-scoring forward but definitely one that has the ability to rack up assists.
He needs to fill out his frame a little more.
Fit with Flyers
Right now, Kaut is projected to be selected in the 20-35 range of the draft, which would put him outside the Flyers' top two picks. I think the Flyers can do better than Kaut at No. 19 overall, but if he slides into Day 2, teams should have him high on their draft boards.
Kaut has the potential to be a solid second-line and definitely third-line winger for the Flyers and I see some similarities with Czech native Jakub Voracek. Kaut doesn’t have the ability to overpower players and carry the puck into the zone like Voracek does, but the offensive elements are comparable.
What is Kaut’s potential ceiling and can he continue his upward path in his development? That’s the question the Flyers' organization has to answer in its assessment of Kaut. If the team believes he’s just scratching the surface, he could be a very exciting prospect.