Erik Cernak


Kosice Slovakia

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2nd round (43rd overall), 2015


203 lbs.

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2011-12: Erik Cernak skated for the HC Kosice U18 team in Slovakia as a 14-year-old. In 37 games he scored 5 goals with 4 assists and was +28 with 61 penalty minutes.

2012-13: Cernak skated for the Team Slovakia U20 team in the Extraliga second division and played for Slovan Bratislava in the Slovak U20 league. He represented Slovakia at the U18 and U17 levels in international play. Cernak had 2 assists with 18 penalty minutes in eight games for Team Slovakia. He scored 4 goals with 6 assists and was +9 with 18 penalty minutes in 30 regular season games for the Slovan Bratislava U20 squad. In 12 playoff games he was -5 with 1 assist and 8 penalty minutes. Playing for Slovakia in the 2013 U18 World Juniors he had 2 assists and was -2 with 8 penalty minuets in six games. Cernak was an assistant captain for the Slovak U17 team at the World Hockey Challenge in Canada. In five games he had no points and 8 penalty minutes.

2013-14: Cernak played 20 games for the HC Kosice men’s team in the Slovakia Extraliga, including seven playoff games, and skated for the Team Slovakia U20 team. In international play he competed in the 2014 World Juniors for both the Slovakia U20 and U18 teams. Cernak had no points and was -3 with 2 penalty minutes in 20 Extraliga games with HC Kosice. He scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -7 with 2 penalty minutes in 20 games for Team Slovakia. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was -1 with 16 penalty minutes in eight games for the HC Kosice U20 team. Cernak was -5 with no points and 4 penalty minutes in five games for the Slovakia U20 team at the WJC. He was the team captain for the Slovakia U18 team in Finland. In five games he was +2 with no points and 6 penalty minutes. Slovakia finished eighth, falling 6-2 to the USA in the quarterfinals. Cernak was selected by HC Slovan Bratislava in the first round (14th overall) in the 2014 KHL Draft.

2014-15: Cernak played in 43 regular season games and seven playoff games for HC Kosice in his first full season in the Slovak Extraliga and played for the Slovak U20 team in the 2015 World Junior Championship. He scored 5 goals with 8 assists and was +7 with 16 penalty minutes during the regular season for HC Kosice. He had 1 assist and was +6 with 6 penalty minutes in seven playoff games as HC Kosice captured its second straight league championship. In six games for Slovakia at the 2015 WJC he had 2 assists and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes in six games. Cernak was ranked 16th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Los Angeles in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. He was selected by Erie in the first round (14th overall) in the 2015 CHL Import Draft.

2015-16: Cernak signed a three-year entry-level contract with Los Angeles in July 2015 and is skating for the OHL’s Erie Otters in his first season in North America. He played for the Slovakia U20 team at the 2016 World Junior Championship. An assistant captain for Slovakia, he was +1 with 2 penalty minutes in four games, suffering a hand injury that kept him out of the Otters’ lineup for three weeks. Expected to struggle with players like Connor McDavid moving on to pro hockey, the Otters are battling with London for the top spot in the Midwest Division and the OHL’s best overall record.  

Talent Analysis

Cernak is an all-around defenseman who has been known to scouts internationally for no less than three years. Big-bodied with even more room to grow, Cernak has a right-handed shot from the blueline that he loves to make use of and is always ready to throw his weight around. Seen as a prodigy in Slovakia, he was already a top-four defenseman this past season for the Slovakian champion and also proved at the WJC, his second, that he is very ready to do what is necessary to win. A heavy checker, Cernak's biggest area of improvement this winter has been in his passing decisions and general reading of the game, as some baffling mistakes in earlier years often overshadowed his raw abilities. A five tool player, he can do everything above average and yet is also very willing to offer himself for the team in blocking shots and dealing with the rough stuff everywhere on the ice, including in front of the crease. Cernak already possesses a man’s body and is close to having his man strength. He is already very mature on the ice and developing well as a power play blueliner. Despite size and physicality, Cernak doesn’t spend much time in the penalty box.


Cernak is in his first season in North America in 2015-16 — skating for the OHL's Erie Otters after playing two seasons in Slovakia's Extraliga. A big and mobile defenseman who uses his size to advantage, he has the prototypical skill set of many of the defensemen in the Kings' organization.

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