Czech, please -- Musil a top prospect in NHL draft
Giant has been a plus as a shutdown defenceman and has size to excel at next level
By Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
November 19, 2010
Vancouver Giants defenceman David Musil has been a penalty-killing ace for a team that can't stay out of the box.
Photograph by: Les Bazso, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun
David Musil is thinking about tonight's Vancouver Giants' opponent, the Regina Pats, but he won't fib and say he's not thinking about the 2011 NHL entry draft, too.
The Giant blue-liner is expected to be selected in the first round based on various scouting services, two of which published rankings this week that looked favourably upon the 17-year-old prospect.
The International Scouting Service rated Musil 14th overall while Central Scouting pegged him fourth best among Western Hockey League skaters.
"I think the draft is probably in everybody's mind," said Musil, who was born in Calgary when his dad Frank was playing for the Flames. "It's the draft. It only happens once in your life."
At 6-3 and 204 pounds, Musil already has an NHL body. What he doesn't have are big offensive numbers, mainly because he's coach Don Hay's shutdown, penalty-killing ace. The Giants take so many penalties and Musil is always the first defenceman out, unless he's in the box himself.
Heading into tonight's date with the Pats, Musil has 12 points in 23 games and is a plus-8. Last season, as a 16-year-old WHL rookie, he collected 32 points in 71 games and was a sublime plus-33.
"I think everybody would like to have bigger numbers offensively but we really rely on David in defensive situations," Hay explained. "We rely on him as far as killing penalties -- 5-on-4, 5-on-3 -- and defending against other teams' top lines and he's done a good job with that.
"David is playing as we expect him to play. He's been a very consistent player for us and I don't think he's had many bad games. Whenever you can say a player has been consistent, I think that's a good thing."
Musil's strengths, apart from his size, are his first pass, his ability to win puck battles along the walls and his reading of the play. He is rarely caught out of position or beaten one-on-one by opposing forwards.
"He's a very competitive young man and wherever he goes in the draft, I think he's going to be a good pick," added Hay. "Whenever you are in your draft year, the expectations go up in all areas, from the scouts, from the coaches and from the fans. What the scouts liked about you last year, they might not like about you this year. They find all kinds of reasons to like you, or not like you."
Musil is happy the scouting services like him today and he hopes to make them even happier, especially at the world junior tournament where he is expected to suit up for the Czech Republic. Despite being Canadian-born, Musil is considered a Czech player internationally as his family moved home when David was seven -- they moved back to Delta last year -- and he's already appeared for the Czechs in under-17 competition.
"I haven't heard anything from the Czechs yet but I went to three of their summer camps," Musil said. "They have another camp in Buffalo in December so I hope to get invited to that. I think I've played pretty well this year and it's nice to hear about those scouting rankings. But it doesn't really matter how you're ranked right now, all that matters is where you are in the end. You just have to play your best and see how it all comes out."
Musil and the Giants will attempt to end a two-game losing streak tonight against the reeling Pats, who have lost four straight and sit last in the Eastern Division at 6-13-2-1. The Pats have allowed a league-worst 98 goals and are led offensively by North Vancouver's Jordan Weal (27 points).
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