If we’re playing favorites, David Musil is near the top of my list. He was so calm in pre-season that one could easily project him into the future as steady, reliable defender. Lots of PK, tough EV minutes and plenty of grit and toughness.
ISS: He is not easy to get around, can play physical when required and isn’t afraid to mix it up or answer the bell when required. He has great gap control and can really lure players in and then strip them of the puck using his big reach. His skating ability has come a long way as has most of his other technical skills.
Bruins Draft Watch: With Musil, it is more about the fact that he looks like a safe defender but nowhere near the high-upside guy he looked like several years ago when he burst onto the scene in the various international tournaments as a 15-year-old. Another aspect of Musil’s game we have heard troubling things about is with the intensity and desire — some NHL evaluators have said that he is the product of hockey coming very easy to him early on and the natural physical advantage he enjoyed at a younger age. Now, his peers are catching up to him and surpassing him, and he’s not consistently bringing the kind of intensity you want.
Musil is listed at 6.04 and 203 and will no doubt have the size to play at the NHL level. He is not going to be an NHL PP option (the only category that Musil is ranked is PIMs) but should be a solid EV and PK performer. I think he’s likely the best candidate in the system to be the next Jason Smith-Steve Staios type defender on the Oilers: steady, can move the puck up and will score 3-5 goals for you each season.
A note about Musil and his position in the top 20. My list is based on potential, range of skills and the players chances of playing north of 250 NHL games (I think that’s a reasonable line in the sand as the lowest requirement for a prospect to turn into an NHL player).
Musil scores well as a “good bet” and I do think he has the tools to contribute to winning games. I don’t think he’s a “complete” defender in that the offense isn’t going to reach levels where he’ll be a PP option in pro hockey. Is a defenseman who can play in all three disciplines more valuable than a defenseman who can play in only two? I believe so. However, if Musil flourishes in the EV and PK roles at the NHL level he could easily be the best blueliner on this list.
Measuring that requires knowledge that I don’t possess, so we go with what the numbers and history tell us. David Musil is more likely to make the NHL than some of the players ahead of him on this list, but in a role that will require 15-22 minutes a night.