Dev Camp Preview: Yannetti on Erik Cernak, LAK 2015 Second Rounder

Cernak NHL CombiineIn the second of a four-part series, we continue our conversation with Mark Yannetti, Director of Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings. If you missed yesterday’s kick-off article, he shared a wealth of behind-the-scenes thinking; detailing what really goes into scouting and selecting players at the NHL Draft. Among the topics covered were how the team stocks their system with players at each position, how and why they select players from different leagues and areas of the globe, plus the intricacies of moving up in a particular round. It’s an important read and laid the groundwork for the rest of this series.

Now, with the team’s annual summer Development Camp set to open on Monday, we turn our attention to some of the actual players selected at last weekend’s Draft. Having dealt away their first round pick to Boston in the Milan Lucic trade, L.A.’s first selection came in the second round, where they took defenseman Erik Cernak from Slovakia (pictured above at the NHL Combine).

“When I read the scouting reports on Cernak, they’re true,” began Yannetti. “He’s a big, strong, hard, competitive defenseman. He’s not Matt Greene, though. When I read some of these reports, I just close my eyes and all I picture is a Matt Greene, a steady number six. I don’t see Cernak as a six at all. He can move the puck. I have heard some people claim his hockey IQ isn’t good. His hockey IQ may not be higher-level functioning IQ, but it’s good. He can score. He can make more than a first-option pass, he can read the play, he can find the second-option seam. The thing about Cernak that I think people may not value enough is his ability to move the puck. Part of the reason I think they see that is because [they] see things in a vacuum. You watch the World Juniors; he was OK at the WJC. He was capable at the WJC. Those don’t seem like glowing compliments. You watch him in the [regular season], sometimes I think he’s outstanding and then there are times when I think he’s capable. You don’t want to draft capable. You don’t get excited to draft capable.

“One thing you don’t look at, though, is that he’s playing in the league as a 16-17-year-old in Slovakia. He’s playing in the WJC with draft eligible players. We’ve seen time and time again, that is a hard tournament for a guy who is not Drew Doughty to be a defensemen and a draft eligible guy. It’s a hard tournament for a guy that isn’t Slava Voynov. The fact that you can survive and be capable as a 17-year-old in that tournament tells you all you need to know. All of a sudden, a scout is looking at a kid saying, ‘He doesn’t always find the second option. He doesn’t always execute the first option play.’ Then, they start to think his hockey IQ isn’t good or it is mediocre or average. The fact that he can adjust to that level of pace is what tells you that his hockey IQ is good or is better than average as a defensemen. It’s that mistake that people make at looking at something in a vacuum. I don’t think people realize Cernak played on the second power play and sometimes the first power play in Slovakia in the Elite league. You can’t put someone on the power play who can’t think at a decent level.”

In part-three, we’ll get into the Kings selection of Alexander Dergachyov in the third round – and how he relates to Yannetti getting to know Slava Voynov in 2008, what really happened with 2012 Draft pick Nikolai Prokhorkin, and how much of the ‘Russian Factor’ came into play when it was time for L.A. to pick at No. 74 last weekend.

In the meantime, if you want more with Yannetti or just love to read about Kings prospects, check out the links below.

RELATED CONTENT:

Calder Cup Final Preview with Mark Yannetti

2014 NHL Draft: Mark Yannetti on Adrian Kempe

Yannetti Adds Weight to the Doughty vs. Stamkos Debate

Yannetti on Drafting Alex Lintuneimi and Losing Linden Vey

Yannetti on Weal and ‘that antiquated, dinosaur way of thinking in the NHL’

Instagram

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com

Recent Articles

NHL RADIO REPLAY: Mayor’s Minutes on Three More Kings Trades to Come, Roster for Next Season

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Network Radio, where John Hoven joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to discuss several timely topics, including: Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez, Trevor Lewis, Derek Forbort, Gabe Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Kale Clague, and more.
Today’s radio segment can be heard using the player below or […]

Kings Of the Podcast Ep. 20 – Live from Air Force Academy

Live from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Kings of the Podcast returns!
We have all of the postgame notes you need on what went down on the ice and behind the scenes at the Kings-Avalanche Stadium Series game… plus LA trade talk and funny road trip stories galore
NOTE: If you missed any of the […]

LA Kings Prospect Tracker – Week Ending February 17, 2020

As the NHL deadline approaches, the Kings are looking to trade away some veterans. They look to beef up their already strong prospect pool, as these up-and-comers had another good week.
EUROPE
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 10 goals, 9 assists, plus-1, 6 PIM in 31 games played
A relatively uneventful […]

Major News Items

Kings Of the Podcast Ep. 15.1 with Jaret Anderson-Dolan

Feel free to admit it - there are few things in life better than a surprise episode. Yet, here we are, back with Kings of the Podcast Episode 15.1, just a few days after our latest release! Here's a very brief look at … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

Comments

  1. Jay Wells says:

    Thanks Mayor This stuff is fascinating.

  2. Mike Burke says:

    Dear Mayor, thanks for all your excellent work! Can you please post the rest of the Yannetti thing? So interesting and too long to wait! Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. […] UPDATE: Part II in the series is available here. […]

  2. […] What to watch for at the Kings’ 2015 development camp. [Mayor’s Manor] […]

  3. […] Kings Director of Scouting, Mark Yannetti, had a lot to say about Cernak here. If you missed that article, it’s well worth your […]