#6 PROSPECT (winter 2012): MARTIN GERNAT

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 2011.

The storyline for Gernat this winter is injury. The young man is losing vital development time during a period when he is still in the learning process. Although Gernat has solid offensive instincts and some intriguing elements to his game, missing the first half of this season is a discouraging development. Gernat’s WHL totals last season–including playoffs–were 80gp, 16-52-68 +49.

This season has been zero’s–no games, no activity, no WJ’s, no Oil Kings until sometime in 2013.

Summer 2012: #5

Winter 2012: #6

Pre-draft

  • 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 decisions. 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.

2012-13

  • Corey Pronman: The Good: Gernat is a very toolsy big defenseman with a fair amount of upside. He’s very rangy for his size, showing good four-way mobility and well above-average skating for his size. Gernat is a creative passer with good puck skills, which like his skating are very good for a man with his frame. He’s aggressive offensively and doesn’t shy away from joining the rush and is pretty effective at either doing that, or quarterbacking a power play. The Bad: Despite his massive frame, Gernat doesn’t use his body as much as he should and when you combine that with the fact he’s not all that developed in his defensive end reads and positioning, his own end value isn’t that desirable although he’ll show flashes of good play in that aspect.
  • Oil Kings GM Bob Green in September: “He had pain over the summer, saw a surgeon over there who’s a highly respected surgeon in the Czech Republic and they thought they needed to stabilize the shoulder. The pain didn’t seem to want to go away.”
  • Gernat: “For four weeks I couldn’t move around, and for six weeks I had trouble sleeping. My mom helped put clothes on me and with eating. It was tough. But now it’s really good, and it’s getting better.”

I’m probably reading too much into this, but the wording by Green above is interesting. I wonder if the Oil Kings/Oilers had their usual input into Gernat’s surgery, and whether it would have made a difference in his being available for the season. Given the Oilers past in this regard perhaps it was the wise decision, but its something to take note of and maybe we’ll hear more about it down the line.

Even with the shoulder injury, Gernat’s size (6.05, 191) and speed make him a prospect of great interest. He is a similar player to Marincin, in that both have great tools but are raw defensively. Pronman did a very nice job of giving the plus and minus arrows in the item above, I would add that Gernat did appear to add an element of physical play as last season wore on.

Gernat’s injury history isnt extensive, but neither is his career resume. This ranking assumes he’ll return to full health, and add strength (its the same story as with Marincin). Getting back into action before the end of this season is very important–he needs to fly those defensive sorties.

#6 ranked prospects on December lists:
  • December 2004: R Colin McDonald
  • December 2005: D Matt Greene
  • December 2006: D Tom Gilbert
  • December 2007: C Kyle Brodziak
  • December 2008: L Liam Reddox
  • December 2009: L Linus Omark
  • December 2010: L Curtis Hamilton
  • December 2011: G Tyler Bunz
  • December 2012: D Martin Gernat


Remember a few years ago when we talked about those three college defensemen (Jeff Petry, Taylor Chorney and Cody Wild)? We agreed that if the club got one of the three to the NHL as a regular that was probably covering the bet.

I think we can use Klefbom, Marincin and Gernat as a trio in a similar way. Although their pedigree would appear to be better right now, as we’ve seen this season injury can impact things and do it in a hurry. I don’t know which of these young men will emerge, but Gernat would have to be considered the long shot based on draft pedigree and the shoulder injury. However, we also have to factor in shoulder injuries and recovery, so two years from now this may not be as big a deal as it currently appears.

That wonderful Oil King season shines like a diamond. Can he return to that level? His ranking here suggests he can.

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13 Responses to "#6 PROSPECT (winter 2012): MARTIN GERNAT"

  1. Clay says:

    I made it to all of Slovakia’s WJC games in Calgary last year, and really enjoyed watching Gernat and Marincin. Throughout those games, it really seemed like Gernat was the one to jump up into the play and take some risks, while Marincin seemed to play more conservatively. I don’t know how much of that was due to their natural tendencies, or due to coaching strategy at that particular tournament, but it was quite entertaining.

    One thing was for sure, when Gernat got caught up ice (and it happened a fair amount), he showed pretty damn good speed in recovering his position.

    I’m a fan of the Slovakian twin towers, and think it would be cool to see them as an NHL pairing some day. You know, providing there ever is NHL hockey again, and providing the NHLPA doesn’t de-certify and all the Oiler kids become instant free-agents and go play for Sather or Burke.

  2. RexLibris says:

    Gernat is a favourite of mine, and I have to say I’m surprised he’s ranked this high on your list LT.

    That aside, here are my thoughts on the shoulder injury and his defensive abilities:
    I went to a Tigers/Oil Kings game last year and ended up sitting right behind Gernat’s family, that or a generational fan club that happened to speak Slovakian and be wearing his junior and Oilers’ jerseys. Family is a big deal for him, and from what I’ve heard about the Oilers finding some Slovakian ex-pats in Prince George to help acclimatize Marincin to the area, it would serve them well to foster a good relationship with the other Martin’s family. I don’t blame him for seeking the surgery how and where he did, it likely sped up his rehab by having some familiar comforts (he’s still basically a kid, after all).

    And I’d rather he have the surgery now than in two-years’ time.

    On his defensive game, I’ve seen him play several times with the Oil Kings (live) and have been surprised to see Laxdal play him on the first PK unit. He isn’t terribly physical, but by the same token, if he’s been having nagging shoulder pain should we be surprised? His positional play and strong stick-work (not the Kevin Lowe kind of stick work, mind you) are good assets. I’d take a player who plays his position well and can add aggressiveness in time, than one that is overly aggressive and then has to add an understanding of the game..

    I can’t wait to have him paired up with Marincin in OKC next season, as I think that will advance his development by leaps and bounds.

    The three you’ve listed: Klefbom, Marincin, and Gernat. I know we should err on the side of caution, but all three seem to have a great deal more NHL potential (Lynch-esque injury aside) than Chorney, Petry and Wild.

    Love this series, and those Barons aren’t too bad a team now are they?

  3. OilClog says:

    Between the two towers and Oscar.. I would say 2/3 need to make it to be considered a success. These 3 scream much louder to me then the Petry fellowship a few years ago.

  4. RickDeckard says:

    RexLibris: He isn’t terribly physical, but by the same token, if he’s been having nagging shoulder pain should we be surprised?

    That was my first thought when I read about the “lingering pain”. Something he picked up awhile ago that never healed right.

    Klefbom down for the season apparently.

  5. jake70 says:

    Gernat and Klefbom with shoulder surgeries, they may as well just get Marincin over with, do both sides now.

  6. oilersfan says:

    can anyone who has been watching okc tell me if marincin is playing pk duties? and if so, is he on the first or second unit? thanks

  7. oilers89 says:

    oilersfan,

    I do not believe that he is. I have watched the games and haven’t really noticed him out there, although I have seen Schultz out there so I guess there is a chance.

  8. Lois Lowe says:

    OilClog:
    Between the two towers and Oscar.. I would say 2/3 need to make it to be considered a success. These 3 scream much louder to me then the Petry fellowship a few years ago.

    Agreed. Kelfbom is a first rounder, Marincin a second rounder, and if you believe the Oilers verbal Gernat is too.

  9. commonfan14 says:

    As long as the PA is understandably looking for something from the owners that they can point to as a significant item that the players “got” in this negotiation, it would be great if someone in Katz’s camp were pushing hard for the owners to come up with some kind of system that allows teams to exceed the cap to some extent for the purposes of re-signing home-grown players. Maybe something like you get to designate 1 or 2 guys for franchise player status and then only 75% of their salary counts against the cap.

    The players would love any kind of sanctioned cap circumvention, the fans would love their teams being in a better position to hold on to signature home grown guys… everybody wins.

    …especially a team that’s drafted high recently and isn’t a major UFA destination.

  10. leadfarmer says:

    I am always confused why the scouts are always in love with large defensive minded WHL players that hit but are without a single fast twitch muscle in their body, while lanky but tall smooth skating european players get passed over. You can teach a kid to eat, you can teach some to hit,but you cant teach them to grow fast twitch muscles. Don’t quite understand why teams didnt get more excited about 6’5′” smooth skating slovakians, while every year that is a Plante, Teubert, McIlrath picked way higher that they should be

  11. leadfarmer says:

    My previous comment got me thinking about pre draft prospect evaluation. I wonder if you can calculate a ratio of natural speed of prospects versus their skating speed. Just something that would help evaluate how much fast twitch muscle a player has. I would suggest something like the time it takes to run 200 meters over the time it takes to skate twice around the rink. This would help a team decide on some of these tall and awkward skating prospects, because it would give a comparison of a players natural speed in comparison to their skating speed to determine how much improving technique would help a players speed, something a player can work on, versus their natural speed, which you can only slightly improve.

    For example by having me run a 200 dash you would determine that I am not very fast and probably would not be a fast skater even with a lot of training. What do you think?

  12. Rebilled says:

    Off topic, In case some of you missed this 15min Yak Documentary

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a74h8KI4oWw&feature=player_embedded

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