Player Discussion: Erik Cernak

Discussion in 'Tampa Bay Lightning' started by alko, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. HoseEmDown

    HoseEmDown Registered User

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    I'm in the keep him up party now. That's as long as he continues to play and keeps up his minutes. If Cooper is going to sit him to play Girardi then send him down. The team has been rolling and he's helped pick up the slack from Stralman being gone. Would waive Martel and if he gets claimed no biggie as Erne is ahead of him anyway. If he makes it to the Crunch he can replace Bournival who's hurt again and might be out long term.
     
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  2. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    From a fan's standpoint, that seems like the optimal move. It doesn't seem like any of those players is going to be the difference between winning and losing on a given night, and we also can't be too invested in the regular season with a team like this. Keeping those vets healthy in the playoffs could be a huge deal though.

    It's just hard to predict that'll happen, because, so far as I can remember, we've never seen Coop rest vets just to keep them fresh. The "healthy scratch" marker is seen as such a negative, even when, in some cases, it's really not.
     
  3. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    Cernak has quietly continued to get more confident offensively, I wouldn't be surprised to see him finally get a goal tonight. He's had some close ones already.

    For the record, Cernak's point shot is being criminally overlooked by our fanbase. This is a part of his game that is going to be a boon for an offensive juggernaut like the Bolts, because he shoots the puck low and hard and always seems to find the goalie or the back of the net.

    Ya'll can string me up and beat me with a bat, but in due time this shot is going to get Cernak PP time and a residual effect of this is going to be lots of points.
     
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  4. TheDaysOf 04

    TheDaysOf 04 [ 2 6 ] [ 4 ]

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    Coop and the bolts continue to not shelter him. He's getting the tough matchups and ice time other rookies might not.
     
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  5. Hockey4Life91

    Hockey4Life91 Registered User

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    I will say it, again, we absolutely need this kid to play big minutes in the playoffs. He is big, has a long reach, gets the puck to to the net, has good instincts, can skate very well (mind you, on a team built on team speed and skill) and, perhaps most importantly, plays hard and real nasty.

    As a result, Girardi has to come out of the lineup when the playoffs come around - that is, unless the game get too big for Cernak as the seasons progresses (which does not seem likely at this point). I do not see any other options. Coburn has been tremendous this season, and he, too, fits the fabric of this team, as he can skate very well and often skates the puck through the neutral zone with ease. Sergachev QBs our PP2 and provides an offensive dynamic that we will need when goals are tough to come by.

    All of this assumes our team enters the playoffs healthy. If so, in the end, Girardi is the odd man out. He remains a serviceable 5/6D on other clubs. He has a ton of experience, is positionally sound, is responsible, is a great locker room guy, blocks a ton of shots and, thus, is great on the penalty kill. But he continues to get slower. And the problem is only amplified by our roster, which is built on team speed. To me, I would rather have Cernak out there with the game on the line.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  6. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    I liked his physicality a lot last night. Had a little extra something behind his hits. He doesn't throw bombs like Gudas, but he's just constantly grinding opposing forwards down, in the corners and along the wall.

    I'm starting to get on board with the idea of Hedman-Stralman, McDonagh-Cernak come playoff time. While I think McD-Stral is a better, monster shutdown pair, over the course of a seven game series, Cernak is going to grind a top player or two to dust. And then we'd have Stralman with an easier match-up, where we've seen him thrive.
     
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  7. The Macho Man

    The Macho Man Lusty Bodychecker

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    Won't lie - his offense is pretty ****ing bad though. Decent breakout pass, but in the Ozone, he has trouble handling passes, his shot is either right in the logo or wide, and he doesn't have the best instincts there. So temper your expectations of him bringing offense.

    I'd feel better with him on the third pairing next season rather than the top 4 for that reason, but I think he could end up being a very solid #4-6 defender in this league.
     
  8. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    He's kind of perfect for our needs though, even without that offense, because we can play him next to a guy capable of 35 points minimum. His best offensive instinct seems to be handling the puck wide with speed, sort of like Sergachev does once in a while, but obviously not as skilled. Still, I don't think he's completely offensively challenged, even if I doubt he'll ever produce a whole lot.

    I think he's just gonna be hard as hell to play against, shift for shift, which becomes more valuable in the playoffs, assuming he can hold up under the extra pressure/intensity, and "do no harm" in other facets. He'll have to get a handle on the occasional giveaway he's been guilty of.

    I see him as a 5/6, but we tend to play those guys in higher pairings, particularly on the right (Girardi right now). I think that could easily be Cernak's role over the next few years. And early signs are really good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
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  9. Palat

    Palat Registered User

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    Saying he is going to be 5-6 is selling him short. Kid is gonna punish people for years to come, I hope.

    Also, looking forward to seeing playoff Cernak when he can be a little nastier. Should be exactly what we need.
     
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  10. TeslaCoilFan

    TeslaCoilFan Shoot the fricking puck!! Sponsor

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    I'd really love to see Hedman-Strålman and McDonagh-Cernak as our top 4 in the playoffs. Having two complete shutdown pairs would be awesome. That is if Cernak can keep up his level of play and improve some of his rookie turnover issues.
     
  11. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    He's coming in with a career best 21 points in the CHL, hopefully nobody was anticipating him coming in and showing a lot of offensive skill.

    He doesn't need to be a dynamo to produce points here though. He's going to rack up points via the Foster effect.

    Are you right handed? Check
    Can you make a quick and simple pass to the left side? Check
    Can you shoot the puck hard and on net? Check

    With three really good RH forwards in the lineup(Johnson, Point, Stamkos), a residual effect of that will be some easy points. First, he does need to clean up his cycling skills like you said. I don't see that as a chronic issue though, after an adjustment period he should be well calibrated to the NHL.
     
  12. BoltzManConstant

    BoltzManConstant Registered User

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    I've seen a few articles recently that reference Cernak as a "throw-in" in the Bishop trade.

    That makes no sense. Cernak was basically the only value we got back from that trade. From the Lightning perspective, it was a trade for Cernak. We gave up goalie value (gave up Bishop and got back Budaj) and pick value (gave up our 5th and got back their 7th) to get him.

    Most recent article to say this was this otherwise really good one by Smith in the Athletic: How 'Ivan Drago' — er, Erik Cernak — has earned a spot...

    Just strikes me as weird for writers not to remember how this went down. We salvaged value from our All Star goalie who we were going to lose in free agency, by getting LA to give us a prospect they had drafted in the 2nd round two years prior. Clearly, Lightning staff wanted this guy, otherwise there was no reason for us to make the trade. Presumably, he caught their attention playing with Cirelli and Raddysh in Erie.
     
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  13. Hockey4Life91

    Hockey4Life91 Registered User

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    You're spot on. Budaj's inclusion in the trade was tangential, namely he was part of the deal because we needed a serviceable back-up in light of of our decision to part with Bishop. Cernak, indeed, was the asset that we recouped for our decision to not re-sign Bishop. I do not have access to The Athletic. But if Smith summarizes the trade so wrongly, it would be quite strange.
     
  14. Hockey4Life91

    Hockey4Life91 Registered User

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    To be fair, most rookie defensemen are not as offensively poised as Chabot out there. Though his play in the offensive zone has been nothing to write home about, I feel that his instincts are better than your account. He actually gets the puck to the net sometimes, which many NHL defensemen struggle with their whole careers. For instance, Cernak has played the same amount of games as Stralman, and he has put 10 more shots on net. Again it is nothing to write home about but he is doing just fine. I believe we will see slightly more offense from him as he matures.

    Ultimately, though, Cernak's play in the defensive zone is what has been most impressive thus far, and is the reason he will be a centerpiece on this roster for the next few years. When the playoffs roll around this upcoming summer, and we, yet again, find ourselves against the Caps - a heavy, nasty, fast and skilled team -- Cernak's presence will be helpful.
     
  15. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    I think what I like so much about Cernak is a lot of his skillset seems like just gravy for the role he's likely to play. And yeah, I don't think it was ever realistic to expect a lot of offense from him. He's always been projected as a bottom-pairing guy, #4 at best, but it's sort of like the case of Anthony Cirelli--Cirelli's probably always gonna be a 3C, because he's SO well-suited for that role. And he's great at it. Saying he's unlikely to ever be a legit 2C is not a knock on him. I think Cernak, likewise, can be a great depth defenseman, even if there are probably always going to be at least three D on the team who slot higher. Cernak's still likely to play on one of the top two pairings, just because of his style and the make-up of the D.
     
  16. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    If Cooper continues to spread out the TOI love, it shouldn't matter a lot, but #4 D suits him perfectly IMO, depending on the depth of talent in front of him. Under the assumption all of our D stay on track and healthy and we can convince Seattle to keep their grubby hands off our young D, than he's projected to be behind Sergachev and Foote on the right side anyways.

    That's totally fine if they want to use him that way, he will be on the #1 PK and get his minutes there.
     
  17. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    The book on Cernak is that his shots aren't designed to hit twine, but are low and hard to create rebounds. He has to make an adjustment, there is a lot more pressure on the point man and bodies in front in the NHL, and goalies are better at preventing rebounds. He doesn't have an amazing side step move like Sergachev to create a shooting lane either. His winning formula is to be able to connect with some great passes towards the left side, if he can do that, goalies will start cheating towards the forwards and won't be in perfect position to stop his heavy slap shot. If I were him/the coaches, I'd be working on that pass play every chance I got.
     
  18. PaulGG

    PaulGG Registered User

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    He is much better than expected. Not flashy as Serg but solid and physical like Coburn. That physical aspect is what we need a bit more off. He looks to be a guy players will avoid messing with.
     
  19. Hinterland

    Hinterland Registered User

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    Sergachev is a lefty and, in my humble opinion, not good enough playing his off side.
     
  20. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    He's our most physical D. And he's physical every shift. Not massive hits, but constantly shoving and leaning on players, and then the occasional big hit.

    I think we're gonna wind up carrying 8 D for a while, although we're at a point where I have no clue whatsoever why Koekkoek's on the roster. I think he's even played well this year--it's just clear that he's our last resort, no matter what. I don't know how we can hope next year he's going to be a regular if he plays 10-15 games this year. So maybe it's time to just move on.
     
  21. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    He's historically played the right side, he did so in Erie and he's done so up here. We also have to consider who he is behind on the left side, Hedman and McDonagh. Does that mean he plays the right side? IDK, there is an organizational preference that D play with their handedness, just seems weird to invest so much into him and play him on the third pair. I'm also talking 1-2 years down the line, and we will see a different version of Sergachev by then.

    If Cooper continues to disperse TOI, that would work out fine though. How we want to rank our pairings is a moot point if they are all getting at least 16 minutes a night or more depending on what kind of penalties are called that night.
     
  22. Sky04

    Sky04 Registered User

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    Sergachev is already playing the right side in parts of the game and name the PP, some of us thought moving in there in a top4 position like they did at the start of the season would blow up and it did. I don't see anything wrong with easing him into the role progressively, it helps that his partner Coburn is interchangeable on either side. Another example of how Coburn has been so valuable this year.
     
  23. Werewolf

    Werewolf Registered User

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    Sergachev played at Windsor. And he didn’t play exclusively as RHD there. Serg and Sean Day took their turns babysitting the other four defensemen. They played pretty much entire game and would switch sides depending on who jumped over the boards with them. He didn’t “prefer” the right side he played both sides because their coach would have him out there every other shift.
     
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  24. Hinterland

    Hinterland Registered User

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    Thanks for the input. His game against the puck is much better when he's on the left side and I think that's why Cooper should keep him there. Not impressed with his game on his off side.
     
  25. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    You are miss-quoting me. I never said that he prefers the right side, and I never said he exclusively played the right side. The point is that he is perfectly capable of playing the right side at the higher levels so he can do it if needed. I did mix up Cernak and Sergachev's junior teams
     

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