Edmonton Oilers sign Martin Gernat

On Saturday, the Oilers locked up a prospect who could have re-entered the draft this year. The team announced that 2011 fifth-round draft pick Martin Gernat had agreed to a three-year entry-level contract.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Gernat’s post-draft career has had some ups and downs. At times he’s looked like a draft-day steal, at other times there have been reasons for concern.

The good. Martin Gernat stands 6’5”, and can skate – with size and mobility, in some ways he’s a dream defenceman. He’s bulked up this year – originally listed at 190 pounds on draft day, he was up to 199 in December and spoke about how he wanted to play in the 210-220 pound range as a professional. As a rookie, he scored 55 points in 60 games and posted a plus-41 rating for the Edmonton Oil Kings (leading a very good team in the latter category). He’s over a point-per-game in the playoffs this season. His long-term potential is excellent.

The bad. His offensive touch dipped a little (23GP – 3G – 10A – 13PTS) this season after he missed most of the year with a shoulder injury. Like most young defenders, he has a lot of work to do in the defensive zone.

The ugly. It has to be the injury. Asked in the interview linked above about what kind of injury it was, Gernat responded this way: “It was the AC joint. They (replaced) my ligaments from there with a new one from my biceps.” Ugh.

The 2011 Draft

  • 1st – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – signed
  • 19th – Oscar Klefbom – signed 
  • 31st – David Musil – signed
  • 62nd – Samu Perhonen – unsigned
  • 74th – Travis Ewanyk – signed
  • 94th – Dillon Simpson – unsigned
  • 114th – Tobias Rieder – traded
  • 122nd – Martin Gernat – signed
  • 182nd – Frans Tuohimaa – unsigned

Gernat becomes the fifth Oilers’ pick from the 2011 Draft to be signed by the team. Another selection, Tobias Rieder, was dealt to Phoenix for prospect Kale Kessy (who the Oilers did choose to sign), while a pair of European goalies (Samu Perhonen and Frans Tuohimaa) remain unsigned, as does college defender Dillon Simpson. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Ewanyk’s junior career really warranted his signing, but so far six of the nine selections have produced an entry-level contract, and there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Dillon Simpson will be signed when he chooses to leave college.

Of the goaltenders, Perhonen was seen as a possible steal on draft day but has not developed, and given his performance in the second-tier Finnish league this year it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Oilers decide not to ink him to a contract. Tuohimaa has rounded into a fairly competent Finnish league backup at the age of 21; based on his performance I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers chose to let him go and I wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to keep him (particularly with the slow development of Olivier Roy and the total implosion of Tyler Bunz at the professional level).

It isn’t a bad looking group, and is particularly strong on the blue line, where Gernat joins Simpson, Oscar Klefbom and David Musil as legitimate NHL prospects.

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  • Craig1981

    I was getting worried there for a second. He might never turn out but then again he is very high reward. I wouldn’t worry about his stats dropping off as he was coming back from an injury. His production late season was better. And his playoff production has been unreal.

    • Craig1981

      I look at Gerant and Marincin like it did Petry and Chorney. Both sets are/were “bluechip” prospects” and you just hope 1 of them turns out. And contrubutes at a top 4 level.
      ….Tell then some Oiler fans will rave he is the next Voynov on TSN and haters will name different picks that didn’t turn out playing no regard to their teams misses

    • Randaman

      You must be watching a different version of Petry than I have this season. Gives the puck away constantly, shies away from contact, doesn’t initiate contact near as much as last year and no physicality in front of the net for a fairly big body. 4/5 guy at best IMO

  • OilersBrass

    Did anyone else watch that crazy OilKings game last night? Moroz, Ewanyk and Gernat impressed the heck out of me. Gernat with a 4 or 5 point game, and there was a big scrum towards the end of the 3rd period after a dirty hit from Calgary and Moroz and Ewanyk literally tried to fight every Hitmen on the ice.

  • RexLibris

    Bells are ringing, birds are singing, the sun is once again ascending in the sky.

    Hallelujah. This one had me worried.

    As for Perhonen and Tuohimaa, could we not just trade them to the Flames for a couple of 4th round picks? They signed Joey MacDonald to a contract extension today to go along with Brossoit, Berra, Ramo, Irving, and Taylor. So I think two more European goalies would almost complete Feaster’s collection.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I have been at all the Oil Kings home playoff games. If anyone believes Ewanyk’s contributions are measured primarily on the score sheet, IMO they are not watching the game. I wish the Oilers had someone in that role. Not guaranteeing he will be the guy to do it at the NHL level, but make no mistake that type of player is a huge hole on the Oilers roster. Moroz has also been very effective. Lacks the defensive awareness and Pk ability of Ewanyk, but is bigger and has more offensive tools.

    I hope Gernot can round out his game. Kid has a bomb, is going to be very large and skates well. His defensive game is …… ummm……. raw. Better offensive instincts than Marincin but he is to defensive play what Honey Boo Boo is to educational television. If he can figure out positional play and pick his spots offensively ……. Yikes!

    People can deride the Oilers for too much home cooking with respect to drafting Oil Kings but what it does do is give the organization the ability to develop these kids as they see fit. The jury is still out as to whether it will be successful, but there is a plan.

    • Citizen David

      I agree, dude. I have only watched a few Oil Kings games, whether on the tube or live, but I really appreciate the skill sets that Ewanyk and Moroz have.

      I hope they turn out. And, you’re right, the Oilers have a need for these type of guys.

      • Supernova

        Agree with you guys!

        I have also seen Kessy quite abit, if he can get it all together, he would make other teams keep their heads on a swivel, he plays with a no fear.

        Hopefully one or more of these three makes the team.

  • OilersBrass

    Gernat was lights out last night. I walked away from the game saying they better get this kid signed. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking that. That dust up at the end of the game is exactly what I hope moroz and ewanyk bring to the oilers. It was a tough game, very physical , and they took a lot of crap all game. But at the end when they were up and they knew they were going to win ewanyk plasters somebody in the Calgary end and then moroz challenges everyone on the ice to fight. I loved it. Smart and calculated. If they turn out at the NHL level edmonton are going to love these two. Best game I’ve been at in a while. A whole lot more entertaining than the oilers.

  • The Soup Fascist

    There’s too much potential with Gernat to not sign him at this point. He may never pan out or he could be a top 4 D-man down the line. His 5 point night yesterday probably increased the urgency on the part of the Oilers.

  • Citizen David

    Today’s signing of Gernat is excellent and with the other prior signings of Klefbom, Davidson, Musil, Marancin, and with Simpson coming probably, the future looks bright for the back end.

    With young Schultz, Smid and Petry being at the Oilers already, the back end is looking brighter.

    However, this is not for now or next season. Aside from bringing Klefbom into the Oilers (providing he is good enough to make the team) the Oilers need two established top defenceman to lead in toughness/meanness and with passing/offence.

    I see a major house cleaning is needed with the Oilers possibly buying out Horcoff (make Hall the new captain), and then letting go of Whitney, Khabby, Jones, Belanger, Eager, Hordichuk. Resign Petrell makes good sense for PK and his hitting abilities.

    Horcoff can be then re-signed at a lower proper rate – if he chose to accept. Jones could be also of the same with being re-signed at a proper amount for say two years.

    We have prospects such as Moroz, Ewanyk, Pitlick, Hamilton, Kessy, McFaull, now Miller, etc, to look at within two yesrs.

    The Oilers should be looking at trading Hemsky now for that type defencemen we need as obviously the kids are settling nicely on the first two lines already (Hall, Ebs, RNH, Paajarvi, Yakupov.

    The Oilers should then look at trading Gagner for another top type defenceman deal as well, while then forcing a high trade deal/picking up a 1st round pick of these great type draft prospect centres’ – McKinnon, Barkov, Nicushkin or…..even wait it out to get Sean Monahan – at probably 6th or 7th pick.

    Anyone of these should be an excellent type bigger 2nd line centre for the Oilers future.

    A back up goalie for the Oilers should then be free agent type such as Theodore, Kudobin, Emery,etc.

    • Craig1981

      If a player is bought out they can not sign with the same team. Best to trade Horcoff to the Islanders, stars or Coyotes.teams who will be trying to reach the cap floor.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    He looks okay some nights when playing with other kids. If he matures and can make the step to the mens version of this game, the Oilers will be very fortunate. Taken well outside of the first round, I don’t like his chances, but, have at’er anyways kid.

  • Citizen David

    I applaud the signing of Gernat. I hope he pans out.

    Lowetide had a guest on his radio show awhile back, can’t remember who, and he suggested that Gernat may go back to Europe for a year instead of jumping into the A. I wonder what plans the Org. have for him.

  • Citizen David

    Great news on a good prospect……….will need at least three to four years in the minors but I can see him developing into a top four if he learns defense.

  • Citizen David


    Thanks I was not aware there would be no re-signing deals when buying out a player such as Horcoff. Then for sure, trading him now makes alot more sense, (along with Gagner, Hemsky, and say Eager and Belanger, etc), in packages, that would allow the team to get two top type defenceman to play now until Gernat, Musil, Davidson, Marancin, Klefbom, Simpson, Bigos, etc, with also maybe Teubert, Fedun, Deck, etc, are ready.

    We need to then re-sign Smithson for the fourth line centre position, put Lander in the third line spot, and the Oilers must pick up one of McKinnon, Barkov, Nicushkin or Monahan this 2013 draft for the second line centre position.

    I like Nicushkin and McKinnon mostly, but will be happy still, with the other two kids chosen.

  • Citizen David

    Off Topic:

    Finally the MSM (Edm Journal) is talking about which goalie should be acquired to replace Habby. Can’t one of the ON authors write an article on this as well ? Oilers will never progress far without better goal tending. I seem to be alone in this view.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I think DD will be a pretty good #1 within the next 2 yrs, but you’re right the team needs a better #2, Khabby is only good for 1 game every 2 weeks.

      Id like to see Emery here as a 1b incase DD goes down with injury and proved he can carry the load.

  • Spydyr

    Oilers should trade for Adam Larsson. He shoots right and has a huge upside for a D-man.

    This will pay huge dividends down the road.

    NJ lost Zach Parise and need scoring up front, they are deep in talent on Defence.

    Oilers are weak on D, Larsson would be a huge help to Klefbom.

    Larsson has sat out 1/3 of the games because of the dept of NJ defensemen.

    If there is a window it would be soon.

  • Spydyr


    I was thinking about the Oilers shoring up on size and skill in the bottom six for next season. I was wondering what you might think of the possible additions of either Dwight King, Brian Boyle, or both?

    Dwight King is a younger guy (23) and is massive. He has proven over the last two seasons that he is a top 9 player and I think would add some serious size to a lacking third string.

    Boyle is a do-it-all grinder. Wins faceoffs, puts up decent points, and also has some good size. Contract is comparable to Belanger so I think he would look good on the 4th line with hartikainen and Brown in a serious energy line.

    Let me know what you think!

  • Supernova

    @Craig1981 I think both will be a top-4 D-Man in the future or at least one of them. Marincin played good with J.Schultz in the AHL and Gernat had a crazy game against CGY.

  • Supernova


    Like your projections.

    Not sure of re-signing Smithson. Is he good enough as his contract counts against the 50 limit and takes away a slot for a NHL-type centre?

    Some would argue about trading Horcoff, Hemsky and Gagner, I wouldn’t. Don’t think they fit into an Oilers’ roster that must be a future contender for the Stanley Cup, what this business is all about. Don’t think Smyth fits in either; however, there should be a place for him in the organization.

    • Randaman

      I used to think that Belenger was the least talented player in the league……….I now believe it’s Smithson.

      Only God know how Tamby was able to find these gems and then grin year to year announcing their arrival.

      We now have a half a dozen of these players rounding out our bottom six roster.

    • Randaman

      The Oilers have Eager & Belanger signed through next year.

      In theory it would be nice to lose Horcoff’s albatross contract. The reality is he is only $2M overpaid.

      If they bought him out they would need to have a top 3 centre to replace him. The available UFA’s are Mike Ribeiro(33), Patrick Elias(37), Tyler Bozak(27),Saku Koivu(38), Matt Cullen(36), Derek Roy(29) that have a better PPG than Horcoff.

  • DSF

    Oilers sign Gernat.

    Leafs make the playoffs.

    While the Oilers have been waiting on their D prospects to mature, Toronto has acquired Phaneuf, Franson, Liles, Gardiner and O’Byrne and drafted Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn.

    It’s quite sad actually.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Liles and O’Bryne aren’t good players. TO got lucky on the Phaneuf trade, that doesn’t, or didn’t even require hindsight at the time, and should we have drafted Rielly instead of Yak?

      I wanted Matt Finn but he probably won’t do anything in 3-4 years and even then probably not.

      Besides what was the whole point of the rebuild? It wasn’t to make the playoffs and not have a very good chance, it was to be able to consistently make the playoffs and be favourites for the Cup.

      • DSF

        Liles and O’Byrne are much better depth defensemen than chaff like Fistric, Potter and Peckham.

        Toronto got “lucky” in acquiring Phaneuf?

        No, they got smart.

        Just like they got smart when they got Gardiner and Lupul.

        The Oilers could have easily added some quality veteran defensemen to help out and prevent the the meltdown that the Schultz pairing is having.

        There is absolutely no reason to believe the Oilers are any more poised to “consistently make the playoffs and be favourites for the cup” than the Leafs are.

        The Leafs are a better team NOW and likely will be in the foreseeable future unless the Oilers can make the bold kind of moves the Leafs have already made and will likely continue to make.

        • OilersBrass

          I don’t know why people always hate on you DSF, you actually know your stuff. You’re a realist and it just seems people have a hard time realizing the truth when it comes to their favourite team.

          • OilersBrass

            I take him to task because he is completely myopic in his assessment of one team versus another, and the epitome of this is his bias against the Oilers.

            To DSF, a player having a poor year on the Oilers means “horrible player, never going anywhere, and the choice reveals how inept this organization is” while the same player having a down year on one of his favourite teams? “Had an injury, will bounce back, team is taking the long-view with this player, don’t worry, he’s till better than a comparable Oiler player”.

            DSF is intelligent, but his arguments ultimately fail because he is unable/unwilling to weigh an issue objectively. He lacks credibility.

  • OilersBrass


    Know this sucka! LA will mop up all in the west! Minny, Vanloser,San Jose Anaheim will choke. La is just just hitting thier stride. Lots of X Oilers on that team

  • OilersBrass

    Don’t see us overpaying and going into a lousy UFA market this season to begin with . Trades will be the order of the off season , and we have plenty to play around with including a full cupboard of youth in the system . Oilers priority is NHL ready talent not more developmental at this stage . Gernat a safe signing .

    Here’s hoping Oilers pull a Minny in off season via trade , and add a star defenceman and a star center for starters . Our focus turns from development to acquiring proven NHL talent . I felt that was obvious when interview with new GM took place . Get on the bandwagon ON – it’s the new reality of stage two of rebuild

    DSF – Toronto still not a great defence and they have not done much more than Oilers , albeit still better than ours currently .

  • OilersBrass

    Familiarity breeds contempt when it comes to underperforming management and diminishing veteran core . How has Horcoff’s contract stunted our search for a better center over last couple of years ? Newness will bring our spirits up again .