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
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.
- 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.
- 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.