2011 NHL Draft Prospects: No. 38 David Musil

Big defensemen come and go all the time. I mean, when you clock in at anything over 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, there is no reason to think you can’t just stand in front of the net and push opposing players away. David Musil of the Western League’s Vancouver Giants is one of those players. At the aforementioned height and weight, Musil had an incredible rookie season in 2009-10, posting 32 points in 71 games as a defenseman, along with a plus-33 rating. However, after his production decreased by seven points in nine fewer games, and his plus/minus rating dropped to a disappointing plus-1, scouts had their concerns. But most are still high on the young behemoth of a player.

“David is a big, strong defenseman that’s just a great two-way defenseman,” an NHL scout from a Western Conference team told NHL.com. “He’s hard to play against because his positioning is very sound, very solid. Good stick. He’s a competitive guy that really works at his game. He has a great first pass. He can make the long pass, the short pass. He’s very good on the offensive point on the power play, moves across the line well, keeps his head up, his shoulders are ready to shoot or pass. He doesn’t have those extra movements. He’s very smart.”

Ironically, Musil, a native of Czech Republic, almost didn’t even play for the Giants. After he told his dad, former NHLer Frank Musil, that he wanted to play for Vancouver, Musil Sr. contacted team officials and arranged a secret signing, so that other teams would not be aware. However, once they found out, the league balked, and ordered a lottery draft to take place. Selected by the Kootenay Ice, Musil requested, and was granted, a trade to Vancouver, in which
Kootenay received a first and fifth-round pick. That’s just one example of how high the Giants were on Musil and his solid defensive game.

“He’s not overly physical, but won’t shy away from it,” said Vancouver director of player personnel Jason Ripplinger in an interview with The Hockey News. “He got into a fight at the prospects game, but I haven’t personally seen him fight – he did pretty good. Obviously when you’re that big, you’re going to get challenged.”

Musil’s biggest advantage is, of course, his size. He has the hockey sense to succeed in the NHL, but he really needs to work on his all-around game, specifically his skating and puck movement. He is very much a shutdown, defensive defenseman, but there is much potential to break out on the offensive side of the puck.

“He anchors their defense,” said NHL Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald in an interview with NHL.com. “When he was out with an injury, they really, really missed him back there. … His overall game is very solid. A lot of scouts are worried about his skating. He is not the smoothest skater, but he gets the job done. He rarely gets beat, and his 1-on-1’s are solid. He always makes that first good outlet pass and on the tape. He has a short stride for a big guy but should improve. He is learning to use his size better and is establishing much better inside position and boxing out opposing forwards. He is a very consistent and a reliable defenseman.”

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

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