#8 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DAVID MUSIL

The storyline for David Musil’s placement at #8 on this year’s list: there’s just too much evidence. I know he doesn’t have the wheels teams look for in a modern defenseman, I know he’s no expert puck mover and I also know he’s no crusher. However, what Musil provides–reliable defense featuring an uncanny ability to defuse oncoming sorties, win battles along the wall and in front of the net, to calm the waters–he delivers consistently and effectively. I’m prepared to suggest that he’s so prolific in this one area that Musil will overcome his other shortcomings and have a solid NHL career in a top 4 role.

Summer 2012: #13

Winter 2012: #8

Pre-draft

ISS: 27; Bob McKenzie 41; Redline 17
  • TSN: Highly touted in the Czech Republic for several years, one of the rare players to compete in three U-18 championships. Good genes, being the son of a former NHLer and a tennis pro, and nephew of Bobby Holik. Strengths - Has good gap control and active stick. He can play a physical game given his size and strength. Has a hard shot, good character and leadership abilities. Weaknesses - Shot lacks accuracy, takes too long to shoot, feet are below average, hands aren’t great, not a puck carrier, dead ends himself. Could be more consistent with his physical play.
  • Redline report: His father, Frank, was a longtime NHL defenseman and currently a highly respected scout. 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.

2012-13

  • Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal: “He’s a big Steady Eddy defenceman. The more games that he plays for us the more comfortable he’s going to get. Tonight he got a couple of good looks from the back end and got some pucks to the net. He just battles down low, he’s an absolute warrior, you put him with Keegan Lowe and it makes a pretty decent shutdown pair.”
  • Bob McKenzie via twitter Sept 25: In late August, NHL teams had to submit short list (no more than 2 or 3) of drafted CHL juniors they would like to recall if lockout ends. TOR has Morgan Rielly and David Broll on its list. EDM has Nail Yakupov and David Musil. OTT has Cody Ceci and Stefan Noesen. WPG Scheifele. IF lockout ends, these players could be recalled to tryout for NHL team and then normal rules apply for keeping or sending back to jr.
  • Redline talks comparables: 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. Comparable: Ladislav Smid. 

Musil was outstanding at last year’s World Juniors, playing huge minutes and delivering outstanding performances–especially on the PK. He should make a rather smooth transition to the pro game, and as mentioned above the Oilers clearly felt he was worth a look during training camp. I think he has the tools to contribute to winning games. I don’t think he’s a “complete” defender (he’ll need to play with a savvy puck mover as his partner), but he plays the shutdown role in the WHL so well it’s easy to project him into the identical role in the NHL.

Easier said than done, but he’s got more than an idea about how to play the game.

#8 ranked prospects on December lists:
  • December 2004: D Matt Greene
  • December 2005: D Tom Gilbert
  • December 2006: L Alexei Mikhnov
  • December 2007: L Slava Trukhno
  • December 2008: C Chris VandeVelde
  • December 2009: D Taylor Chorney
  • December 2010: L Linus Omark
  • December 2011: L Curtis Hamilton
  • December 2012: D David Musil

I don’t have any math to show you in order to back up Musil at #8. I freely admit that footspeed could doom him to the 5-6-7D rotation of an NHL team. However, there’s a lot of evidence available (and on display nightly) that this fellow knows how to play defense. He’ll need to keep up, he’ll need to increase his strength, but he has mastered a very difficult discipline at the junior level.

This list rewards “range of skills” over one or two skills at a high level but there there are exceptions to every rule. In one key aspect of the game–and not a sexy one I might add–David Musil thrives.

Is it a mirage? Will the pure speed of the NHL doom his career? It is going to be fascinating to watch Musil’s career play out.

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28 Responses to "#8 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DAVID MUSIL"

  1. mumbai max says:

    Could be a nice FIRST pairing with Schultz

  2. rich says:

    I hope his track is more Ladi Smid versus Alex Plante. Foot speed is a big issue as we’re seeing over and over again.

  3. nelson88 says:

    Hope he gets to Ladi’s level but don’t see him having the foot speed. Think he tops out somewhere between Matt Greene (with more hockey sense) and Smid. Still useful.

  4. sliderule says:

    In the game against moose jaw he looked not bad for the first half of his shift.

    When he had to race for the puck near the end of his shifts it was like he was skating in sand.

    Plante for all his lack of speed would have looked fast vs Musil.

    With a lot of work with oiler skating coach maybe he can pick it up a bit.Otherwise it’s no hope even as pk specialist.

  5. dessert1111 says:

    I wasn’t following prospects very closely until a couple years ago, so I was wondering how people viewed Peckham at this stage in his career and shortly after. Peckham is more of a physical player, but he is also a defensive defenseman/PK guy. Were some of the same worries/comments floating around about him at the time? Musil is a higher pick so presumably he has always had more upside, but I’m curious where he’ll end up with regards to similar player types, i.e. Smid, Peckham, and even Teubert and Plante.

  6. Jordan says:

    I don’t see it LT. I think he’s a solid pick, and expect that on current abilities and bloodlines he’ll play in the NHL, but I can’t see him in the top 4. As you say, he’s got the D side of the game down, but from where I’m sitting, you need to have at least one of either NHL average skating or puck skills to play in the top 4. Musil lacks both.

    Comparisons to Smid are completely unwarrented. Smid was projected to be an all-round defenseman in the NHL – more like Klefbom was a couple years ago. Greene is a better comp, but he never had the same defensive IQ that Musil seems to display regularly.

    I don’t expect his play style to reflect this man’s, but Andy Sutton’s carreer seems like a much more likely arc for him, imo. A good #5, can step up beyond that, but isn’t quite suited to it. Solid PKer, excellent in his own zone, some physical play (less than Andy, I’d assume), but the lack of puck skills and skating limit his ceiling.

    dessert1111,

    Peckham was seen more like Teubert is now – big mean physical guy, except he never skated as well as Teubert did. I don’t see Peckham as a comparable, simply because his D coverage was always a secondary trait to his physical play. TO his career’s detrement, imo.

  7. DawnM says:

    “The Oil Kings’ penalty kill is the Western Hockey League’s best and it’s no coincidence that the unit just got better when defenceman David Musil arrived.” (JOANNE IRELAND, EDMONTON JOURNAL)

    46 straight successful PKs. Of course it is a small sample size. None the less, it’s a pretty good run. The Oilers already have offence. Someone to play the role Musil excels at (if he can transition to the pro level) is just what the doctor ordered.

  8. Truth says:

    Yakupov with another 2 assists in a 4-3 win. Took a tripping penalty with just over 30 seconds left, however. Going off the box score only.

  9. Woodguy says:

    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.

    Poise!

    No wonder v4.1 has him on the recall list.

    Poise.

  10. Ducey says:

    rich: I hope his track is more Ladi Smid versus Alex Plante. Foot speed is a big issue as we’re seeing over and over again.

    I suggest that Plante’s problem (besides getting his bell rung every month) is agility more than speed. I think Musil is plenty agile. That, coupled with a big wingspan can play in the NHL, as those guys are tough to get around.

  11. RexLibris says:

    If, in three years’ time, the Oilers 3rd pairing defensemen are Martin Gernat and David Musil, I think we’d all look at that as a positive sign of depth and ability throughout the lineup.

    I’m much less surprised to see Musil here at #8 than I was to see guys like Gernat and Khaira higher, and I’m a bigger fan of those two. Musil strikes me as very much in the Smid-type range. Not a bad pickup at all.

  12. jp says:

    RexLibris:
    If, in three years’ time, the Oilers 3rd pairing defensemen are Martin Gernat and David Musil, I think we’d all look at that as a positive sign of depth and ability throughout the lineup.

    Or it could be a sign of a 6th straight lottery pick. I hope you’re right though – depth and ability. :)

    If 2 of the 4 D (listed in the top 20 so far) turn out the Oil will be in good shape before too long.

  13. CrazyCoach says:

    I was going to mention this in the thread on Judge Khredd, but it is worth mentioning here. I noticed from the BCHL ratings on the NHL combine, failed to include the scores for the vertical jump test. Although one disadvantage of the vertical test is that it sometimes relies heavily on technique, it is a great indicator and predictor of overall speed. If you take the scores of the vertical test and compare them to the 40 yard dash test, there is a positive correlation between the vertical test and 40 yard test. Guys who score high in the vertical tend to also score high in the 40 yard test.

    Where does this fit in for players like Musil and Khaira? Well, I would take a gamble on a player with slow feet and a high vertical score, because you can teach quick foot speed. You are dealing with a teachable trait and one that requires a little work and coaching. Musil possess the mental skills to play the game and has the physical presence to become an everyday NHL’er. I don’t see him as a top 4 minutes type player, but I honestly think he could be 4B on the Oilers, if he works on the foot speed.

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Call me old school, but I happen to think that poise is good. Musil has got it in spades, he’ll get involved but will keep his composure while doing so. Moreover his emergency response capability is excellent, because he never seems to panic. I’ve seen him play around 10 games live now, and that seems to be a constant about this guy.

    Areed about his foot speed, it is a major concern and will always be an issue. Mind you, as guys like Allan “Snowshoes” Stanley**, Harold Snepsts, Brad Marsh, Kjell “The Skating Tripod” Samuelsson and — how can I resist? — Frank Musil have proven, it is possible to be a poor or lumbering skater and nonetheless always be in the freaking way. If David is in their class that is a more than useful player. He sure seems to be projecting in that direction, in the eyes of this old goalie he looks to already have a better d-zone understanding/awareness/presence than a few of the 20-somethings a little higher up the food chain. Even when he’s confronted with wide speed he’s good at forcing the guy to turn the corner very deep or to an unfavourable shooting angle, and leaves that last part up to his goalie. Not pretty, just pretty effective.

    ** Hell, when I was a kid and a Leaf fan (it helped to be both at the same time!) I used to think Allan Stanley was so great he had TWO Cups named after him.

  15. Justified says:

    A little off topic but interesting none the less, according to hockey db Ales Hemsky leads his team in PIMS at 50 after 20 games. That would be over 200 minutes in a full NHL season, I’m not saying I’m just saying.

  16. commonfan14 says:

    CrazyCoach: noticed from the BCHL ratings on the NHL combine, failed to include the scores for the vertical jump test. Although one disadvantage of the vertical test is that it sometimes relies heavily on technique, it is a great indicator and predictor of overall speed.

    I think I’ve commented on this before, but why the hell doesn’t the NHL help teams out with judging the speed of these guys at the combine by, you know, actually putting them on some ice and timing them?

  17. CrazyCoach says:

    commonfan14: I think I’ve commented on this before, but why the hell doesn’t the NHL help teams out with judging the speed of these guys at the combine by, you know, actually putting them on some ice and timing them?

    I agree wholeheartedly. Although top end speed is not the biggest indicator of skating skill, it would be nice for the gurus at the pro level to research and develop a scientific test much like the 40 yard dash. We never seem to want to do things logically in hockey.

  18. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Even when he’s confronted with wide speed he’s good at forcing the guy to turn the corner very deep or to an unfavourable shooting angle, and leaves that last part up to his goalie. Not pretty, just pretty effective.

    I know as a coach, you seem to always get that one kid who doesn’t have the best set of wheels out there but their lack of speed is compensated for with excellent vision and the ability to fill lanes and create difficult paths to the net for the opposition. Musil just gets in the way like a good defenseman should. You pair him up with a smooth skater and the fast guy takes care of the ice behind the net while Musil leans on everyone in front of the net.

  19. ashley says:

    The Smid comp for Musil is strange. They kind of look alike, but otherwise are seemingly dissimiliar players. Smid has got to be one of the fastest skaters in the league. It is remarkable to see a massive body move that quickly. His short distance acceleration is incredible. World class. This has helped him cover up some of his errors, especially early in his career.

    Musil will have to play a much more intelligent positional game to succeed.

  20. DeadmanWaking says:

    Any idiot can assemble a roster in accordance with central-casting flavour of the day. It’s more interesting to see how the GM handles Juliet Stevenson, Tilda Swinton, or Joan Cusack (someone has to play Horcoff’s life partner when they finally film He Made What?).

    It will be great if the superstars on the opposing team spend the entire game trying to beat Musil wide because deep down they know they can. Only it never works. “I beat him by a 1/4 step, he recovers. I beat him by 3/8ths of a step, he recovers. I beat him by 7/16ths of a step, he recovers.” Sorry Sid, he’s a full half-step smarter than he looks.)

    I’m still grinding a bit on the lockout dynamics. I was watching My Left Foot the other night. In a working class Dublin pub circa 1949, replacing the glassware was just a regular part of the business cycle. The boys, they’re itching to go.

    I think this is really what is going on here. League ownership is not a happy family. Five or six of the team owners spend all their hours with giant oriental fans drying off their newly minted $1000 bills. There are some in the professional working class who put in a hard day in the dental clinic. And a few who only burn coal if they steal coal. Is it a surprise there’s some friction in head office?

    I’ve also been following Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series on Ghengis Khan and the Mongol rampage throughout most of Eurasia. They kicked Chinese butt. They kicked Muslim butt. They kicked Russian butt. The kicked Hungarian butt. And there’s another fifty years to go. The Mongols only kicked butt to two basic levels: a flogging you’ll never forget, or a tombstone for you and everyone else you’ve ever known. City-state genocide was routine diplomacy.

    First thing: the Europeans were idiots. When the Mongols were busy erasing the flower of the Muslim empire, the Christians were licking their lips. Working together they’d have been lucky to slow Genghis to a stand-still. Like when Shaq was playing college ball at 290 lbs. Genghis was the grand master of erasing ethnic groups who despised each other in one tasty morsel after another. The Mongol Conquests (over many generations) killed four times as much of the world population (in percentage terms) as WWII.

    Second, Genghis has a succession problem. The had four sons. He managed to forestall some of the internal bickering for a generation or two with some prudent decisions. What helped, I think, was that there was so much left to conquer. Your internal disputes seem so much smaller when you’ve got someone else to kick down.

    This is where I think we’re arrived with the NHL. If it weren’t for the distraction of a regular pub brawl (the lockout) there might be real social violence within the ranks of team ownership.

    Why do lockouts happen? Well, why do brawls happen? Because there are winners (Toronto, New York, Philadelphia) sharing the same neighborhood with losers (Phoenix, Atlanta, and Florida). You can go across town and trash someone else’s pub (the players) or you can trash your own. Which seems like a better idea to the little general?

    This family affair could be sorted out with a more adequate system of transfer payments, but there’s a problem. You’ll end up with the wrong kind of owner in the weak franchises. Too many will be run at cap minimum sucking down the nice transfer payments and losing money at an acceptable rate, for a billionaire who is mostly in it to widen his social network by having a desirable plaything.

    New money buys expensive Ferrari’s to build up the social circle that old money takes for granted. It’s not because new money is dumb. The old money will damn themselves to hell before they’ll make an internal arrangement that facilitates Steve Martin in his bikini scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. How to sort this out? Pick on someone weak and pathetic. Enter the Soap Queen. Only you just know this whole affair is going to go sideways in a big hurry. DRS is a fairy tale. By the end, they’re all working together. Or are they? Michael Caine has a brilliant pause where he tries to decide if he’s the wolf or the lamb in this new world order. He thinks he’s the wolf, but he can’t be certain. Then he decides, what the hell, it’s good sport regardless and off they go. These scoundrels are not so rotten after all, in their own way. Our scoundrels have the charismatic nonchalance of Scrooge McDuck.

  21. delooper says:

    After watching Smid’s first game I fell in love with him. He skated the puck out of the Oilers end-zone multiple times, overpowering the forecheckers with his speed. He seemed like magic beans.

  22. Lowetide says:

    DMW: Perfect. Jesus.

  23. jp says:

    Justified:
    A little off topic but interesting none the less, according to hockey db Ales Hemsky leads his team in PIMS at 50 after 20 games.That would be over 200 minutes in a full NHL season, I’m not saying I’m just saying.

    I noticed that the other day. Checked into it a little and it appears that he recently received a 10 min misconduct, followed shortly by a game misconduct (20 min) for arguing with officials. That’s what I understood from the google translate of the Czech league box score anyway. So nothing to see here really – he hasn’t morphed into a goon or anything.

  24. bendelson says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I was with you until Scrooge McDuck.

  25. dessert1111 says:

    CrazyCoach:
    I was going to mention this in the thread on Judge Khredd, but it is worth mentioning here.I noticed from the BCHL ratings on the NHL combine, failed to include the scores for the vertical jump test.Although one disadvantage of the vertical test is that it sometimes relies heavily on technique, it is a great indicator and predictor of overall speed.If you take the scores of the vertical test and compare them to the 40 yard dash test, there is a positive correlation between the vertical test and 40 yard test.Guys who score high in the vertical tend to also score high in the 40 yard test.

    Just curious, where did you find this correlation between vertical test and 40 yard dash? How strong is it? I’m curious because I had to do them both when I played football, but my vertical wasn’t nearly as good as my 40 and other quickness tests. I could be an exception, but I’m not so sure. I suppose it could have something to do with quick-twitch muscles, which I know play a factor in sprints and I assume they do in the vertical too.

  26. CrazyCoach says:

    dessert1111: Just curious, where did you find this correlation between vertical test and 40 yard dash? How strong is it?

    In one of my masters courses I read a few studies that showed a correlation of the two. I guess like any other field of study, there are errors and of course always room for further study, but the trend is matching the vertical jump test as a predictor for speed. My curiosity was peaked after taking a Nike SPARQ training session from its creator, Matt James, who has worked with countless NFL and NCAA players and attends the NFL combine. After doing some research, the studies do back up what Matt was telling me.

    And yes, you are correct in saying it is a measure of fast-twitch muscle fibre, which as you know plays a huge role in speed and power tests.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    CrazyCoach,

    Fast-twitch muscle fibre is probably what Zack Stortini lacked more than any other single attribute.

  28. CrazyCoach says:

    Bruce that would be a correct assumption. He wasn’t built for speed. The slow-twitch fibres were great for hugging

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