#7 Prospect: Martin Gernat

Martin Gernat moves up this list based on an exceptional WHL debut and a scouting report that suggests he has a wide range of skills. Martin Gernat could be a draft bargain we talk about forever.

  • Winter 2011: #7
  • Summer 2011: #19

The legend of Martin Gernat began right after the 2011 draft’s second day. The Oilers included a major item in their talking points: they had Gernat in their top 35 overall for the 2011 draft. We know scouting departments are prone to hyperbole, but the Oilers brass stood by the statement after taking him in the 5th round (#122 overall) in June.

Redline scout Radim Jelinek: Gernat is a smooth skater with fluid stride and decent footwork for his size. Has very good vision and hands, moves the puck well, handles the puck with confidence making solid decision with puck. Likes to join the rush regularly and shows good instinct in sliding from the point into scoring positions. Just started developing physical play in his game, still very inconsistent using his body, needs to play aggressive, physical game all the time. When he uses it then he is tough to beat 1 on 1, angles forwards to the outside, tights forward up at the boards, hits hard. Lacks strength right now and still growing but has frame to fill it out. D-zone coverage is still very average, needs to read the play better defensively, improve positional play and play much tighter game. Very raw but I like his progress throughout the season and see some similar things in his game as in Martin Marincin´s. He is far from him as Marincin was first rounder in my eyes while Gernat is later-round pick but upside is there.

Kirk Luedeke: Slovakia’s best defender has excellent size (6-5) and good mobility for such a big kid. He’s fluid in his movements and still a little gangly, but had a couple of memorable plays where he jumped in from the point to get a good shot off, but was denied by Gibson. He was burned on a couple of missed coverages, but overall, was one of Slovakia’s better players in a thrashing. Lack of physical play and strength is his biggest shortcoming right now, but he has the kind of projectable upside that makes him a solid sleeper for the 2011 draft.

Stu MacGregor: Watched Gernat a lot. He’s a big guy, skates extremely well, 6’4″, still quite
slim, passes the puck very well. Really quite excited about what he might be able to bring.

Gernat has a wide range of skills. He boasts size, skating, skill, passing and a good shot among them, plus he’s a physical defender when required (took a fairly brutal checking from behind penalty Thursday night). He’s a “rangy” defender from the Dale Rolfe-Jacques Laperriere family tree and plays with confidence. His monthly splits are worth talking about.

  • September: 3, 3-3-6 +3
  • October: 12, 3-9-12 +5
  • November: 11, 0-4-4 +7
  • December: 1, 0-2-2 +3
  • Overall: 27, 6-18-24 +18
  • PP: 27, 2-7-9
  • PK, 27, 0-0-0
  • EV, 27, 4-11-15

Gernat is tied for 6th in rookie scoring, tied for 5th in scoring among defenders. His downturn in November owed to returning soldiers and less time on special teams, but he’s been a member of the top 2 pairings for the entire season.

Since this is a somewhat unusual choice at #7, I felt it might be an idea to give my reasons for it. My top 20 holds “wide range of skills” as the most valuable of all traits among prospects. Gernat isn’t reliant on offensive numbers for this ranking, and he can play defense in a very good junior league–maybe the best one.

Gernat’s size (6.05, 191) and speed make him a very interesting defensive prospect. That kind of resume alone could mean a Matt Greene career for this young man. However, I think there’s more to his game, enough offense and defense to play some special teams minutes and play what the kids today call “top 4″ minutes at the highest levels. I watched him closely this past Thursday night and he’s effective without the puck, very long player and strong for his age.

Gernat is not the most certain prospect left on the list, but he has more potential than the 2-way AHL forwards (Pitlick, Hamilton), the other WHL defenseman likely to play in the NHL (Musil) and the tall tree in OKC. I had to establish in my own mind that Gernat’s potential made him enough of a prospect to leap the young men listed above. I’m satisifed he’s bona fide. Martin Gernat is a quality NHL prospect. The rest is up to the Hockey Gods. Godspeed young man. We need you yesterday.

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