All in the family: Edmonton snubbed again

David Musil grew up in Edmonton. His dad, Frank, you might remember, played for the Edmonton Oilers for three seasons. He’s been employed by the Oilers as a scout since he retired as a player in 2001.

Frank’s baby boy used to have the run of Rexall Place when his dad played here. You’d see him around the dressing room. David would throw on his skates and helmet and wobble around out on the ice after practice.

Zip ahead to 2009, and little David is a six-foot-five defenceman projected by some to be a top-five pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and he’s coming to North America to play in the Western Hockey League this season.

Call me crazy, but. given the above, I’d have thought the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL team owned by the Oilers, might have had a pretty good shot at landing Musil.

Apparently, the Oil Kings had no shot. None. No, David Musil will play the 2009-10 WHL season with the Vancouver Giants. My question is why? My question is how? More on that later.

First. here’s the skinny on Musil’s convoluted journey from the Czech Republic to Vancouver, the unofficial WHL Welcome Wagon for young Czech players, from Greg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News. It’s from Drinnan’s Taking Note blog this past Saturday.

How it went down

Drinnan writes:

“So, it would seem the WHL gathered its pooh-bahs in a closet and held a draft of some sort to decide for whom D David Musil, the 16-year-old son of former NHLer Frantisek Musil, should play.

Even though I’m thinking it already had been decided that he would play for the Vancouver Giants and only the Vancouver Giants.

Even with the decision having already been made, it would seem that there was more clandestine activity around this draft than in any of the Jason Bourne movies.

Anyway, the Kootenay Ice — as reported by radio voice Jeff Hollick — won the draft, which means, one supposes, that they got the short straw.

But wait… there’s more.

The Musil family, wanting their son playing major junior hockey, apparently has relocated from Czech Republic to the Lower Mainland area of B.C. Which, if you check a map, isn’t in close proximity to Cranbrook, which is in B.C., but isn’t quite what the Musils had in mind for David, who is said to be one of the top prospects for the NHL’s 2011 draft.

So, enter the Giants.

The Giants apparently have traded a 2010 fifth-round bantam pick and a 2011 first-round bantam pick to the Ice for Musil’s rights.

David Musil, who grew up in Edmonton, stands 6-foot-5. He had one assist in 14 games with Dukla Jihlava in the Czech Elite League. Yes, he was the youngest player in the league. He also had six points in nine games with Dukla Jihlava’s junior side. He also had three points in four games with the Czech U-17 team and two in 13 games with the U-18 team.

But, as a 1993-born player, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the CHL import draft until 2011. Thus, one supposes, the need to hold this special draft, what with the family having relocated to North America.”

Just asking…

So, Frank Musil — did I mention he’s an Oilers scout? — wants his son to play major junior hockey. Makes sense. Likewise, its understandable that he wants to be as close to his son as possible.

So, Frank — did I mention he’s an Oilers scout? — decided to move his family to the Lower Mainland and not to Edmonton, the city in which the team that employs him, plays. The city in which the WHL team the Oilers own, the Oil Kings, play. Got a problem with that?

It just so happens the Oil Kings made a trade with the Chilliwack Bruins with an eye to taking Musil in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. That, and the same line of thinking — that Musil wants his son to play major junior hockey and would prefer to be close to his son — could have landed the younger Musil in Oil Kings silks, no?

If you believe that somebody at some point told Kootenay management Musil would play for Vancouver and nobody else, thus prompting the trade between the Ice and Giants, could that somebody have not steered Musil to the Oil Kings — did I mention the Oilers own the Oil Kings? — through the same channels?

No sniff for Edmonton

Did Frank Musil ever try to steer his son toward the Oil Kings or did he just take a hands-off approach and leave it to somebody else? Did Frank Musil ever give the Oil Kings a heads-up his son wanted to come west?

What are the odds agent Edmonton Ritch Winter and his Sports Corporation, which used to represent the old man, are that somebody else? Do they represent David Musil? I’m guessing Frank Musil didn’t orchestrate this by himself.

Other Sports Corporation clients of Czech origin, notably Marek Schwarz and Andrej Meszaros, also ended up in Vancouver in recent years. Now Musil. Maybe the meal money is better there.

I’m guessing Oil Kings GM is Bob Green isn’t too happy right now. Green had a track record of success in Medicine Hat and he’s put together a pretty decent team here in just three seasons. Musil would have been a prized recruit and prime addition.

I can’t imagine the Oilers, who pay Musil’s salary, are overjoyed about how this went down, either.

Nor should they be.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

  • Curious

    The whole CHL is a big sham when it comes to drafting players. Just look at where some of the top prospects have been drafted and then look by whom and you will see there is a lot of behind the scenes BS that we common folk have no idea about.

    That being said with Musil working for the Oilers you would think the behind the scenes stuff would actually work for you.

    This kid is suppose to be the best defenceman out of the Czech rep ever. He is big for his age with lots of upside.

  • Robin Brownlee

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Not sure why people are still suprised when Edmonton gets passed up.

    Who said anything about being surprised? That's a gross simplification in reference to this story when you consider the circumstances.

  • dyckster

    The optimist in me would like to think Franky boy had nothing to do with this fiasco and let his son and agent(s) deal with everything. Having said that though, if that were the case, he should have shown SOME sort of loyalty to his employer. Like, WTF! In my opinion this is worse than Heatleygate.

  • scorecoff hemmercules

    @ Ogden Brother:

    My sentiments exactly, a player snubbing Edmonton is par for the course these past few years. Funny how guys that actually want to play here never get offered extensions half the time either.

  • jenga

    TonyT wrote:

    @ Brownlee:
    somewhat unrelated: what are the odds the Oilers start the season with pretty much the same roster? Exactly how tied are we to this Heatley trade goin’ down? Do they have no alternative plans? This lack of news is driving me crazy…

    Somewhat unrelated? No. Entirely unrelated yes.

  • TonyT

    @ Brownlee:
    somewhat unrelated: what are the odds the Oilers start the season with pretty much the same roster? Exactly how tied are we to this Heatley trade goin' down? Do they have no alternative plans? This lack of news is driving me crazy…

  • swany

    Can you say "pink slip" that's what most of us common folk would get if we helped the competition, let alone doing it behind there backs. No heads up that should have been the least he did.