2011 Draft Class: David Musil
Vancouver defenceman ranks 38th among North American Skaters by CSS
While many players head into June with a boost from NHL Central Scouting, countless others have seen their rankings dip from higher midterm benchmarks.
Such is the case for 18-year-old David Musil, who dropped from No. 26 to No. 38 in a matter of months.
"When [the rankings] come out, I have a look at them. But they're just numbers," he said. "You have to play the game and you have to get better to play in the NHL. That goes for everyone. It doesn't really matter where you're chosen. All the players are the same and have the same chance once you're taken."
The 6'3", 198-pound blueliner came into the new season looking to build on a solid rookie campaign where he scored seven goals and 32 points in 71 games with the WHL's Vancouver Giants. This past year, he posted six goals and 25 points in nine fewer games.
His Giants squad had a reasonably successful 2010-11 season, posting 35 wins and 75 points in 72 regular season contests. Even so, Vancouver was handled easily in the opening round of post-season play, losing in a four-game sweep to the rival Tri-City Americans.
"As a team, we weren't as deep as last year. We obviously saw that in the playoffs," Musil explained. "Losing four straight is never good, and we were obviously pretty sad and disappointed with that.
"We had a younger team this year and were building up, so hopefully this year will be better. I'm sure it will be."
Musil understands that, in order to have success in 2011-12, his game needs to mature to the next level as well. Doing so won't be easy, but the Delta, BC native is driven to accomplish a series of leveled goals.
"I need to work on my shot over the summer, get quicker feet, and really keep training in all areas to help better my game. I want to be an excellent two-way defenceman, so becoming better at everything will help me a lot."
Although he sees several areas in need of improvement, Musil acknowledges that his game is already a well-rounded example of near NHL-ready standards.
"I'm a big defenceman and I'm hard to play against," he said. "I play against the other teams' top lines, can pass very well, and I have a long reach to help break up plays. Better than all that, I think my strongest point is my hockey sense. I can read the play well and make quick decisions based on that.
"I obviously take pride in my defensive play, but I also think I've got some offence in me. I like to be considered as a reliable, two-way guy. I'm trying to achieve that at a higher level every day."
Learning from the NHL's best is a logical approach to becoming that player. Musil accompanies his on-ice practice and dry-land workouts with informal video sessions away from the rink.
"I like to watch hockey because I'm a fan, but I also try to learn things when I can. When I watch games, I like to watch Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger. They're two, big defenceman who I try to model my game after. They can both control the pace defensively and chip in on the other side as well. That's what I want to do."
Helping him develop into the NHL mold has been the best possible resource, readily available to assist with tactical advice and past experience. David's father, Frank, played 15 NHL seasons, including three with Edmonton from 1997-98 to 2000-01.
"I remember when I was a kid, I would attend his games and practices, so I was always watching him," David said. "He was pushing me to play hockey when I was younger, but I always loved the game. That's why I play.
"After practices and games, we still chat about what I can do better. I'm always trying to improve and and he's always there to lend a hand. He's a great supporter for me."
With only a month until David potentially begins his professional journey, following in the footsteps of his father 28 years later, anticipation is understandably high.
"I'm really excited," Musil said. "I remember as a kid watching the draft and seeing all the players get selected. I thought, 'I wish that could be me.' Now the time is here and it feels like everything is happening so fast. I can't wait."
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com