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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.