November 06 2011 10:00PM
Edmonton Oiler fans should have no trouble tracking phenom Martin Gernat--he plays his home games at Rexall and he hits the score sheet with alarming regularity. How good IS he? We're beginning to find out.
After the draft, the back stories on all these kids began to find their way to the masses. Gernat's story had a wrinke--the Oilers had him in their top 35 overall--but waited until deep into the second day of the draft to call his name. This can backfire--it did with Tomas Kaberle many years ago--but this time the Oilers got their man. Er, kid.
- 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. "
Those were the first details we heard about Martin Gernat, and based on his size and birth place most of us compared him to stringbean Martin Marincin (drafted a year earlier from the same part of the world).
This season, while a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings, Martin Gernat has been beyond impressive. Here are his splits so far this season:
- September: 3, 3-3-6 +3
- October: 12, 3-9-12 +5
- November: 1, 0-0-0
- TOTAL: 16, 6-12-18 +8
Gernat, 6.05 and 191, has had a major impact on the Oil Kings this season.
- Oil King GM Bob Green on Gernat's defense: “(Gernat)’s not overly physical, though he can make the big hit. But he understand the defensive side of the game and he’s tough to play against — he’s got long arms and a long stick.”
- Green again on Gernat's talent: “It’s always hard to tell because it’s practice or a scrimmage at camp. You can see (his talent), but I’ve seen it before. We had a kid in Medicine Hat a few years back that was as big, a beautiful skater, and everything else, but once the puck dropped and it was a real game, everything came to an end. So you’re never too sure. But with Martin it was evident the physicality and the competitiveness (of a North American league like the Dub) wasn’t going to affect his game. He could really pass the puck and skate it and read a play very well — obvious offensive instincts.”
Gernat is among the league leaders in points by a rookie and points by a defenseman. He's 2-6-8 on the PP and Oil Kings PBP man Corey Graham says "he isn't afraid to gamble in the offensive zone, and uses his big reach to get to loose pucks. He is paired with Griffen Reinhart and they have developed some chemistry from the blue line."
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
40 years ago the Montreal Canadiens supplied the expansion divisions with defensemen. Nowadays, NHL teams have to draft and develop their own. It has long been an area of weakness for the Edmonton Oilers. In the last few years, the organization has made a concerted effort to find gems on the blue (and in goal).
Martin Gernat is building a very nice resume, one game at a time.
NOTE: There are two different accounts of Gernat in this post, listing him as 6.04 and 6.05 respectively. The most recent account has him at 6.05, so I'd suggest it is more accurate.