With the signing of David Musil, Oilers fans get the sixth (and possibly) final look at a young defenseman who holds a lot of his value in the defensive end. One of the frustrating knowledge crevices of the game in terms of analytics is defensive defensemen. I am a big believer in the value of defensive defenseman, and a big believer in waiting five years before making a call on prospects. For David Musil, the five years since his draft day are in the books. Where is he?
Musil’s signing puts him in the middle of the Leftorium—at best, he is looking at being No. 7 or No. 8 D in the NHL next season. My guess is that Jordan Oesterle wins the final job, but even if it is Musil who wins the day in TC, how long could he hold the job? Can we project him as an NHL player for the Edmonton Oilers, based on the information available? Let’s compare him to a recent Oiler grad.
MARTIN MARINCIN 2015-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.33
- 5×4 points per 60: 0.00
- Corsi for % 5×5: 53.5
- Qual Comp: 2nd pairing
- Qual Team: top pairing
- Corsi Rel: 3.3
- Shots on goal/percentage: 55/1.8 percent
- Boxcars: 65, 1-6-7
- (All numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and BehindtheNet.ca)
Martin Marincin is establishing himself (signed a two-year deal yesterday with Toronto) as a defensive defender who can help win games. As you can see, the offense is negligible, but the possession numbers are above 50 percent in reality and in terms of relative to team. Now, many of you reading this have low value for this player type—we disagree here—but we should expect this player card IF Musil makes the grade. Miles to go before he establishes himself at the level we see from Marincin.
How does this impact our view of Musil?
- Marincin made the NHL at age 21, playing in 44 games. Musil also made the NHL at 21, but played in only four games.
- Anecdotal information has Musil playing tough minutes in the AHL, but we cannot directly connect the two and we don’t have AHL possession numbers to compare. The Oilers, a terrible defensive team, have not chosen to promote Musil beyond his first four game look-see.
- Marincin faced tough competition in Edmonton for playing time, but in fact emerged as one of the NHL options in two seasons—before being dealt to Toronto. Musil is the same age now that Marincin was one year ago, with far less of an NHL resume.
This is the other problem for Musil. Edmonton has 17 lefties—11 of whom will play pro hockey in North America this season (I am assuming Andrew Ference will be unable to play). Musil is behind players who are both younger and similar—Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart being examples—and does not fill a need for the team.
Edmonton requires a righthanded blue who can be used at even strength and on the power play. If David Musil is to be an NHL player for the Edmonton Oilers this fall, his best chances are injuries to those above him, or a trade involving a defender who is higher on the depth chart.
Both are possible, but if you are not a fan of Martin Marincin—who is a superior player—I think it very difficult to argue for David Musil. I think there is substantial evidence that both player and team should have parted ways this summer.