The Edmonton Oilers are going to have a lot of defensemen pushing their way up the depth chart over the next few seasons, and David Musil might be the first one to find his way to the NHL.
Although Musil is not the highest ranked defenseman among the Oilers prospects (I have him #13 on the summer list) he and Oscar Klefbom are likely the most ‘defensively ready’ to make the NHL.
- Vancouver Giants coach Don Hay: “David’s a real good player. He’s a dependable defensive defenceman who gets the puck up the ice. He’s very solid in his own end of the ice, he understands the game very well. We rely on David to be a shutdown guy and a penalty kill guy, he’s the same player as he was at 16, he’s just more mature now. He’s got a very good hockey IQ, he just needs to keep getting stronger, to continue to work on his skating, and being a little bit better on the offensive blueline.”
Pair that with Redline’s comp (Ladislav Smid) and verbal.
- RLR on Musil: David has excellent size and strength and plays a rugged brand of hockey with a bit of a mean streak. He reads developing plays well and uses anticipation to break up plays before they become dangerous. He’s got good hockey sense in all three zones, but his offensive upside is limited due to his mediocre point shot.
- RLR on his comp:Maintains great gap control and always squares up to the puckhandler. Has good poise, plays solid, mistake-free game in own zone and is excellent positionally. Reads and anticipates developing plays well. Good laterally, but 1st step and straightaway speed are average. Is not good as either a PP quarterback or trigger-man— has weak shot and makes poor decisions in puck distribution.
And I think we get the picture. Early reports from this year’s Giants camp have Musil shooting the puck better than ever, and if he can bring any offense to his game then the Oilers are going to have a worthy defender. The Hay quote above is what we saw at the WJ’s: big minutes shut down defender, not terribly creative but effective enough getting the puck up ice. I love the line about same player at 16, because you get a sense he’s always been able to read the play and react accordingly.
The item we have to factor in to the good news is footspeed. Musil is going to have to be very good positionally or pick up a little on footspeed in order to play big minutes at evens and pk (the Smid minutes).
- You’re not serious about him making the team, are you? It’s a long shot, but that’s what we’re discussing with this series. Long shots.
- He’s WAY down the depth chart. Not that far down, and he impressed last training camp too remember, even got into a pre-season game.
- He was cut early. Second round of cuts, Oilers sent away Gernat and released Tyler Schmidt and Wes Vannieuwenhuizen on Sept 19, and then Musil, Brandon Davidson and Jeremie Blain were sent back to junior September 21. Martin Marincin was the only junior left and the last junior defenseman to get sent out, he lasted awhile longer (Sept 26).
- What’s the depth chart? Oilers depth chart on LD might be Smid, Whitney, Schultz the elder, Sutton, Peckham. Sound about right?
- Then we need to factor in the AHL guys like Marincin. Okay, let’s say the OKC Barons LD will be Ringwald, Marincin, Zahn, Davidson.
- Not a lot of experience. I think they might add a veteran D at some point, or maybe have Plante play LD.
- Plante? Well the RH side has more experience–Plante, Teubert, Fedun is stronger than left side. They could use a veteran puck mover who could help the PP.
- Alright, we’re all over the place. Give me the entire pro LD depth chart. Smid, Whitney, Schultz the elder, Sutton, Peckham, Ringwald, Marincin, Zahn, Davidson.
- And Schultz the elder can play RD as well? Yes, and we’ll say Plante could play LD in OKC to even things out.
- So that’s 9 or 10 guys? Yes.
- Musil can’t pass 5 guys and he can’t play in the AHL. The job Musil will one day own–as I see it–is the 5-6D role that I have Schultz the elder, Sutton and Peckham in currently.
- How does Musil make it to the NHL this fall? Well, perhaps Whitney isn’t healthy and the Smid-Petry pairing is followed by the Schultz-Schultz pairing. And maybe Sutton is banged up and Peckham looks lost, but the smooth kid from the Giants keeps making the simple play.
- Marincin would take that job. Not necessarily. Marincin can play in OKC, Musil can’t. If the Oilers decide that Musil is more productive now than Peckham, I don’t think it takes more than one injury to light the conversation. From there it’s a matter of taste for Krueger, which one do you want to go to war with in 12-13.
- Oilers wouldn’t do that. Lander played 56 games last season.
- Your scenario is farce. Oilers won’t have that many injuries. You know about the Oilers and injuries, right?
- Are you suddenly down on Peckham? No, I’ve said before that the Oilers should be patient with him. Peckham has been saying the right things too: “When you don’t play to the best of your ability, there are two ways you can go about it. You can let it drag your career down or take it as an opportunity to show not only the coaching staff but this town that you have a lot more left and you can play a lot better. I’m not going to wait and see what happens. I’m just going to go in and take my spot. I’ll let that be known.”
- So Peckham has a job going in? That would be my guess. Peckham again, about Krueger: “I’ve told him that I want a clear understanding of what my role is and I don’t want there to be any is communication so that when push comes to shove I know exactly what I’m supposed to do in every situation and there’s no hesitation. And that’s almost death in hockey, when you start hesitating in situations and that can only lead to bad things.”
- So tell me again how he makes it. Okay. Oilers arrive at training camp (and this assumes no lockout) with the usual suspects. Lets say Whitney is fine, and this allows Schultz the elder to play right side. Lets also say that the top 3 pairings are Smid-Petry, Whitney-Schultz the younger and Sutton-Schultz the older. Peckham is 7D but Musil is impressive and getting into pre-season games.
- Okay…..Well we reach a point where Peckham’s chaos is a concern and Musil’s steady play keeps making itself obvious. And then someone–Whitney, Sutton–is injured.
- So they alter the pairings and include Peckham in the 5-6D. And that’s probably what they do. But, if Musil outplays Peckham–and Theo had a tough season last year–Musil might be able to wiggle his way into the lineup.
- What about Potter? You haven’t mentioned him at all. He is among the right side candidates, with Petry, Schultz the younger, possibly Schultz the older and Colten Teubert.
- Oilers won’t run with two rookie Ds. It’s a long shot, but he’s an unusual teenager.