Sharks Forward Leaves NHL After Saying He Was Constantly Pressured To Fight

San Jose Sharks prospect Martin Kaut has opted to sign a two-year contract with HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga, instead of returning to the Sharks for the upcoming season.

Kaut, who was acquired by the Sharks in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, has faced challenges securing regular NHL opportunities despite performing well in the minors.

In an effort to revive his professional career and continue his development, Kaut has chosen to play overseas where he previously had a successful stint with Pardubice during the NHL season delay in 2020.

While with the Sharks, Kaut demonstrated his offensive skills and showed promise, but the increased competition for roster spots influenced his decision to explore other opportunities.

Despite receiving a qualifying offer from San Jose, Kaut believes that playing in the Czech league offers a better environment for his growth and the potential for a significant role within the team.

Although the Sharks still hold his rights as a restricted free agent, Kaut's move to Pardubice provides him with a promising path to further his development and potentially make a return to the NHL in the future.

Kaut recently said that during his time in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda, coaches would pressure him to fight, saying "fight and you will be in the NHL."

"One of the coaches chose an opponent for me before each match, and I was supposed to fight with him," Kaut said. "I remember how he once pointed to Adam Klapka." "They say that's why I don't play [in the] NHL," Kaut said about if he refused. "I've had three concussions and an injured shoulder twice. If I had fought with the ones he was picking on me, I would have been beaten and injured. He forced me into fights anyway, and it really bothered me. I would fight for a good reason. It gets heated when the match is sold out or when you're defending a teammate. But fighting someone just like that? I should be on the ice from the goals."

The Sharks denied the claims Kaut made. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports