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Is LW Quentin Musty’s defence strong enough for him to be the Canucks’ pick at No. 11?

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Photo credit:Natalie Shaver/OHL
Isabella Urbani
1 year ago
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Welcome back to our series here at CanucksArmy where we examine players who could be available for the Vancouver Canucks with the 11th pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. 
We’ve previously broken down Swedish right-shot defenceman Axel Sandin Pellikka; last season’s youngest NCAA player, BC’s own, Matthew Wood; Bo Horvat comparable, Slovakian centre Dalibor Dvorský; draft long shot Matvei Michkov; OHLer Calum Ritchie; the fastest skater of the draft, USNTDP centre Oliver Moore; Russian LD Dmitri Simashev, and Canuck favourite David Reinbacher. In this addition, we’ll see how OHLer Quentin Musty would fare as the Canucks’ 11th pick in the upcoming 2023 NHL Entry Draft on June 28. 
Who 
July-born Quentin Musty will be one of the 17-year-olds, alongside Connor Bedard, to get their names called in front of friends and family in Nashville. Musty, who was born in Hamburg, New York, where the NHL draft combine was held, has been playing for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL since he was taken first overall by them in the 2021 OHL Priority Draft. In 103 total OHL games, Musty has 109 points (38 G, 71 A), including 78 points (26 G, 52 A) in 53 games this season. At this stage, mere weeks away from the draft, Musty is still a little polarizing to scouts — many still don’t know if he’s worthy of a first-round pick.
Similarly, Musty’s production has been all over the place, at largely no fault of his own. His first season in the OHL, in which he recorded 31 points in 53 games, was a “growing pain.” He dealt with that and bounced back with 78-point sophomore season, which is more aligned with his offensive prowess. Plus, in that same season he recorded seven points (1 G, 6 A) in a single game to tie the Wolves franchise record. His skill is so undeniable that the Sudbury Wolves drafted him after he played just seven games for the North Jersey Avalanche U16 AAA team after tearing his labrum in his left shoulder. Just two years earlier, Musty injured the growth plate of that same shoulder and dislocated it. Even after having a surgery for his second shoulder injury, you have to wonder just how much more wear and tear that shoulder can continue to take. He also missed a month due to a hand injury at the start of the new year. 
What the scouts are saying 
Smaht Scouting: “There are instances in which Musty carries the puck into the zone, but doesn’t really have a plan to get around the pressure at open ice. He ends up skating towards the boards and hoping that he will be able to create space for a teammate to find a centered spot in the slot by deviating his positioning and drawing the pressure to him. But, by the time Musty is in position to make the pass, the pressure closes in on him along the boards and he is trapped.” 
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “Musty is a player full of talent. His full-season scoring pace in the OHL would have been 100 points and it’s realistic he could have hit it. He has excellent hands, vision and overall offensive creativity. He’s an excellent playmaker, while also being a shot threat and having an NHL frame. Scouts have reasonable concerns about the pace of his game and his ability to give a more consistent effort, but there is legit top-six forward upside in Musty.”
Western Conference scout: “He’ll have to be a power forward at the next level or he won’t play. He’s got to be the F1. You can’t be a perimeter guy. He’s got to be hard to play against. And I think that if he can do that, then he’ll be money for ya. He’s got all of the tools and the size to go along with it.”
Mitchell Brown, Elite Prospects: “Musty’s clearly a skilled shooter. Not many players turn passes into powerful wristers like him. Top hand and stick are always positioned to make the next play. He arrives into space at the right times, too. Otherwise, this was more of a concerning than impressive performance from Musty. He didn’t show much awareness of backpressure, leading to turnovers in transition. Lots of pucks passed to no one, dump-outs with options, and getting pickpocketed. Missed opportunities to scan before reception and with the puck, and he also didn’t show much patience with the puck.”
David St-Louis, Elite Prospects: “Musty is still a puck-hog. Sometimes, it works out for him, as he’s one of the best skaters and handlers in the whole draft class, capable of dancing around sticks, cutting laterally, and then attacking inside with a reacceleration. But other times, he just loses the puck in bad situations. He doesn’t seem interested in passing — unless it leads to a direct scoring chance, a potential assist. He has some playmaking ability and I do think he sees the plays, but just decides to not take them.”
Rankings (per Elite Prospects) 
For a handful of scouts, Musty is a borderline-first one pick or a second-round selection altogether. He’s one of the more skilled players in the draft, but he plays like he’s a one-man wrecking crew, when he’s very much not. He calls his own name more frequently than his teammates and gets himself in vulnerable situations against the board because he doesn’t pass the puck off quick enough. As his assists illustrated this season, if he’s making a pass, he’s doing so for a primary, maybe secondary, assist. 

PROSPECT COVERAGE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

Conclusion 
The Canucks might have drafted a different Elias Pettersson last season, but that doesn’t mean that they should continue the trend of drafting players with the same first or full name with Musty. Even then, I’m fairly positive Quinn (Quinn Hughes) is not short for Quentin (and they’re spelled differently). Namesake aside, Musty is very similar to a former first round player and current Canuck, J.T. Miller. His There’s a 50/50 chance, sometimes less, that he’s backchecking. St-Louis of Elite Prospects referred to Musty’s defense as a weakness and his “mechanical flaws” as “scary.”
While his defensive support has gotten a lot better in the second half of the season, it’s still not all there. His backchecking is still slow and haphazard at times, and he’ll remain high in his own zone to make a quicker exit. For Musty, his biggest enemy is himself.  He’s not necessarily a scoring machine, but goals are created when he’s in the offensive zone, especially, when he starts the play himself. The defense is going to improve, because it has to if he wants to legitimize himself as a NHLer. He’s not resistant to passing — he clearly does it enough to warrant all those assists — but these are still moments when his tunnel vision is on full display. As good as a player he is, there’s still a few too many question marks surrounding what his game will become. Right now, his game is almost entirely reliant on his scoring, and if that falters, or if he happens to get injured, what then? I think it’s best if the Canucks don’t stick around to find that out.

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