When we sit down and come up with these rankings, sometimes you take a player and just keep putting him behind someone else. Generally speaking, it's not because he's doing anything wrong and you feel you have to knock him down a spot for it, but rather because you kind of have an idea of what he is and the unknown can trump the known.
David Musil finds himself at #17 in the Copper and Blue Top 25 Under 25. He's not only dropped 6 positions on the overall list, he's dropped consistently across the panel. This despite the fact that he put together another David Musil like season in the WHL. Not a lot of offense, but a heck of a lot of solid defensive play against the WHL's best offensive players.
The draw back on Musil is one that gets touched on almost every time his name comes up. It's very hard to be a good defenseman in the NHL when your sole ability is your play in your own end. David Musil doesn't put up a lot of points and his skills with the puck are rather pedestrian. When he makes the jump to the NHL, his defensive play is going to have to be exceptional enough that it compensates for his lack of skills elsewhere. That's a pretty tough task, especially in your early 20's.
Musil's fall can also be attributed to the fact that positions on D are limited and that he may get overlooked by some other promising blueliners. Not to spoil anything, but when ranking these players, their potential opportunity plays a factor and there are some good, young defencemen in the system who may get a chance to establish themselves before Musil can.
It's not all bad news though. Part of the trouble with analyzing players in the CHL is a lack of statistical information. Musil may have average skills with the puck, but he may be doing other things outside of his end in terms of good reads in the neutral zone that help his team prolong their forecheck. Things like that might not be visible during a casual viewing but could end being shown in terms of possession numbers. He's an efficient defender in his own end who can break up cycles quickly. The puck also seems to be out of his zone in a hurry when he's on the ice. He seems to be able to drive the play in his own way, though not necessarily through handling the puck.
Musil takes a bump in our rankings, but in reality, he's the exact same prospect doing the exact same things he has since he was drafted. He's a solid defender and will make his opportunities through that route. The question is whether he can do that at 21 with the Oilers, or will it take him until he's 25 and with another organization?
Check out the complete Top 25 Under 25 List in our