David Musil after being drafted 31st overall by the Oilers. Photo by: Lisa McRitchie, All Rights Reserved.
David Musil: for me it has nothing, and everything, to do with his dad. I'll leave that with you for a bit.
Interesting thing, as many writers are wont note, David Musil was drafted earlier than his dad.
I don’t actually care.
What I care about is: can he play NHL level hockey?
Previous rank: N/A
I like the pick. Not so much because Musil is a prospect that blows the doors off but because Jeff Petry, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Musil (et al.) all now represent a trend towards the stockpiling of high quality prospects that patrol the blueline. That depth might be years away and we may indeed be lucky if one of those young fellows does turn out (see also: Coke Machines, h/t Lowetide), but for me, the picks weren’t reaches and it finally appears as if management is learning how to manage their prospect pool.
i.e. all the Coke Machines were guys who ‘might’ or ‘could’ be good while the young d-men are all guys who ‘could’ or ‘should’ be good. It’s the difference between betting on 10’s versus 8’s without the big pay-off in pay-out to balance.
Besides, of all the 'D' prospects we've listed to date the odds seem best that David will play a regular gig in the NHL - might only be a #6 guy - but he should be a gamer.
Here are what the scouts had to say (note that ISS ranked him #27 and the DSB ranked him #38 NA):
Red Line Report (h/t again to Lowetide) ranked him at #17: 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.
TSN (Grant McCagg / Bob McKenzie) had him at #41: 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.
The Scouting Report ranked him at #33: Musil plays in all situations for the Giants and he is able to chip in a little offense but won’t likely be expected to provide that offense at the NHL level. With his dad and uncle combining to play well over 2000 NHL games and his mom being a former pro tennis player, David has some good athletic genes. Like his dad, Musil is a steady defender having very good size and strength, while being good at taking care of his own end. While Musil may be one of the best defensive defensemen available in the draft this year, he needs to work on improving his quickness. His slow acceleration and top end speed make him vulnerable during puck retrieval plays, as well as his ability to contain the fastest players in the league.
Kirk Luedeke had him at #38: His skating is average - not poor or exceptional either way and he does have good gap control and active stick. He can play a physical game (when he wants to) and has a nice frame to fill out, which will make him more effective in that regard. His shot has power, but is lacking in a good release and accuracy. He telegraphs it and has an excessive windup that allows for defenses to get into the shooting lanes or disrupt his delivery. 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.
Reading through those reports a few things pop out at me:
- He has all the basic tools and the fact that he is okay with contact means that he can employ them
- None of his physical skills and talents have advanced to the point where he stands out in any one area
- Don’t expect any offense (two reports knocked his shot, another his skating and all of them pointed in the direction of defensive defenseman... that’s a pretty good tell)
- He has an underlying issue ‘somewhere’ but there is no agreement as to what that is; Redline did like him outright and ranked him accordingly but the other guys all felt the need to give themselves some pretty big outs
So this is where we get back to what I said at the beginning, "for me it has nothing, and everything, to do with his dad".
I don’t care about his genes (the nothing).
I care about his professionalism (the everything).
Hopefully all the lessons Musil Sr. had to teach about what it takes to play year-in and year-out in the NHL have been absorbed by Musil Jr. because if Musil Jr. wants to play in the NHL he is going to have to work his ass off. Jason Smith didn’t have great athleticism or incredible skills, what he had was toughness and intensity ratings – if such things could be/were rated – that would have been off the charts. Musil Jr. doesn’t appear to have any natural aptitudes, on any level, working in his favour, and that means he only has the one option – train hard and learn well. That said, as noted, he is probably the most 'for sure' guy out of the second tier of blueline prospects and sometimes that counts for a lot (in this case enough to beat out Tuebert, Blain, et al).
David Musil is relatively well liked by all of the Copper & Blue panel but don’t let that fool you into thinking this guy is the real deal or anything (yes... beware our POWERS!). #17 is deep in the land of the undefined. He has a year or two to solidify and improve his ranking because once he gets to the AHL and, probsibly, the NHL he could just as easily become the next Alex or Taylor (not Hall) as he could the next Tom, Jeff or Theo.
Good luck to David Musil in his pursuit of a professional and hopefully NHL calibre career.