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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