Almost everyone you talked to in Oklahoma City, players and staff, agreed — David Musil was one of the team’s most improved players.
Coming off his first professional season in 2013-14, in which he played 61 games for the AHL’s Barons and three games with Bakersfield in the ECHL, Musil was ready to take the next step in his development. He clearly took that step this season, playing the entire year in the AHL, except for his first four NHL games up with Edmonton.
In speaking with Musil it is clear that he gained an entirely new level of confidence this season as he became a reliable fixture on the Barons blueline. Getting called up to Edmonton was the most memorable part of this past season for the defenceman.
“Getting called up to Edmonton and playing my first NHL game was something unbelievable,” he said.
Musil, the Oilers 31st overall pick in 2011, says he felt comfortable during his limited NHL action. The game didn’t seem too big for him. He made his debut on April 4, against Calgary. Musil stayed with the big club the rest of the season, recording his first NHL assist, against Los Angeles, in his second game on April 7. That was his first NHL victory, and he logged 19:47 of ice time.
Musil played 22 minutes in just his third NHL game, a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on April 9. He finished his NHL season with an assist against Vancouver.
The 22-year-old defenceman returned to the OKC Barons to aid them in their playoff run. He played just one game in the first series, helping close out San Antonio in a 2-1 overtime win. Musil was +2 that game with two shots on goal.
After playing the first three games of their second-round series against Utica, Musil left the lineup in favour of Oilers 2013 first-round pick Darnell Nurse. Musil returned to the lineup for games six and seven. The Barons fell to Utica 1-0 in game seven, ending Musil’s season.
“It was a fun year,” he said. “I think we had a great group of guys. It’s disappointing losing, but it was a great time with all the guys. Just doing what we did in the playoffs, even though we didn’t go as far as we wanted to, I think it was still a pretty amazing time.”
Musil says the next step for him is return home and train while he prepares for a big camp in Edmonton at the end of this summer. So what does Musil feel like he has to focus on to put another foot forward in his career?
“Just my whole game,” he said. “I know the stuff I need to work on. There are always things I need to get better at. I know what I need to work on and I’ll try to do that as much as I can.”
The 6-foot-4, 207-pound blueliner hopes to compete for a spot on the Oilers in 2015-16. Whether that comes to fruition is to be decided. But one thing is for sure — Musil is oozing with confidence after a strong season in the minors.