Quentin Musty is a top American forward prospect, who has had plenty of hype around him going back to his first overall selection in the OHL draft. Since then, he's had some issues with consistency and not quite seeming to take that big step forward that most people expected of him. At least, not until this year.
This year he finally had that big breakout, and it was across the board in all areas of his game. His shooting, passing, skating, and defense all showed big improvements from last season, when he was already pretty good as a prospect – just not as good as was expected of him.
It's to the point that I think what is holding Musty's draft hype back compared to others in his range is that he has a bit of that "jack of all trades but master of none" thing going for him. And that is something that some people don't really like – they want their top prospects to have some kind of already elite ability that is better than anyone else. But for me, I think that while he may not have the very best skill in any of the areas you can think of, he is very good and sometimes elite in pretty much all of them. So I don't really care if he isn't the very best in one area, he's may be close to being the best in aggregate of all the areas and skills together.
So let's talk about that.
THE BASICS: STATS AND CONTEXT
- Position: Left winger
- League(s): OHL
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 190 lbs
- Birthdate: July 6th, 2005
Here are his draft rankings, as of writing this:
- Bob McKenzie: 26th
- Scott Wheeler: 18th
- Elite Prospects: 12th
- Dobber Prospects: 15th
- Smaht Scouting: 21st
- Future Considerations: 24th
By total points, regardless of games played, Musty finished 23rd in points. In terms of points per game, he finished 10th. In terms of total even strength points, he finished 8th, and by even strength points per game he finished third – only behind top defense prospect Brandt Clarke, and Matthew Maggio who is three years older and had the most points in the league.
Simply put, Musty was one of the league's best point producers – especially at even strength, and especially for the 2023 NHL draft group.
THE GOOD: PRO-STYLE OFFENSIVE SKILL
While Musty may not be the flashiest forward prospect, he has plenty of offensive skill to offer. More importantly, he is already showing the kinds of skills that I've come to associate with being "pro-ready".
At 6'2" Musty has good size, but not so much that it affects his movement and coordination. In fact he looks pretty balanced and smooth when he skates, outside of one element of skating that he can work on (more on that below). He also still has some room on his frame to pack on some more muscle to become even more sturdy. He doesn't necessarily throw a lot of hits or play with a lot of truculence, but he does play a power-forward kind of game where he leverages his size and strength.
With the puck, Musty has a pair of nifty mittens and is not shy about trying to dangle past defenders. Sometimes he may try that too much, but that's something he will learn to manage more efficiently as he gets older and rises towards the NHL. He's also a capable playmaker, in fact I'd say he's better as a distributor than he is as a shooter/goal scorer. That said, he does have a pretty good shot – both a one-timer and a good hard snap shot, though he could stand to improve both over the next few years. But the fact he is so good both with shooting and with passing makes him a real dual-threat offensive player, especially when you add his dangling into the equation.
But the really exciting thing about Musty's game is his the specifics for how he uses those skills to be effective. More specifically, the habits he has in game that project the best to the NHL. For me, this comes out the most in his transition game, and on the cycle. He looks damn good on both, specifically when it comes to working across the ice, rather than working mainly north-south.
Musty has an exciting blend of size and speed, though he is not the fastest or best skater. The size element makes him very effective along the boards, pulling it free and driving into the middle or right at the net. Not unlike Matthew Knies, but not quite in the same manner. He doesn't really have the same puck protection element down, nor Knies' pure chaotic power moves. What Musty has going for him over Knies, however, is that he is a much better distributor of the puck while also having a very good shot. There's a good chance Musty becomes a better point producer offensively, while being just as good at driving play. Maybe even better.
THE FLAWS: SKATING, CONSISTENCY OF EXECUTION
I am really having to nitpick here, because while these are the two biggest areas of improvement for Musty, they're not major weaknesses. I want to stress that because while I am going to point out one specific area of his skating, shooting and puck handling, I do not mean to say he is a bad skater or puck handler.
For his skating, he can move a bit awkwardly when he is specifically transitioning from north-south, to making an east-west cut and vice versa. I am going to quote Smaht Scouting's profile on Musty to describe it, because I didn't even notice this while watching him until I read this and saw some examples:
When it comes to his east – west skating, Musty struggles with retaining speed once shifting from north – south. His crossovers aren’t picking up a lot of momentum and thus he struggles to get the necessary speed to hang with the attack should they deviate from north – south. With that said, that limits Musty’s ability to forecheck / backcheck east – west unless he initially went into stride going east – west.
The other area for improvement is the consistency of Musty's execution in two specific areas – the biggest being his puck handling and dangling through defenders, and to a lesser extent I could nitpick his shooting as well.
For his puck handling, Musty has an issue with trying to dangle too much and/or trying to dangle in situations where it is not the smartest or best play to make. This is a combination of the plays he chooses to try and make, but also sometimes he may be making the right decision based on his ability but just doesn't execute it successfully as often as you'd like. Think of it like dekeing himself out of his pants, if you get my meaning.
For his shooting, it's the same kind of thing. He made a big improvement in his shot from last season – though I didn't watch him as closely then as I did this year – but the issue I have is his shot selection and, at times, his high end execution. For the former, I find he can settle for shots that he doesn't need to take. It just feels like he can fall in love with his shot sometimes, when he has room to step in and get a better shot location, or to pass up a good cross ice pass that he can more easily make.
For the execution part, while I would definitely say he has a good shot, one thing I think he can work on is adding little elements of deception. And this is real nitpicky, it's just something I think he can use more often to make his shot more effective. As much as I think he has a good shot, he only had a 12.5% shooting percentage, which is not really that high for a top OHL prospect. Even Ty Voit had a higher shooting percentage than that.
The good news is that those two areas of improvement are not major problems for him even now, and they're also things that I think are easier to work on improving. As he gets older and more experienced, he will both refine his mechanics to improve his execution but also gain wisdom for making better decisions of when to dangle and shoot.
The truth is that Musty has one of the strongest and most balanced profiles of prospects in this draft, at least in my eyes. He may not have the very best shot, or puck handling skills, or skating, or defense, or transition game, etc. But he does have elite elements to his game, and like I said he is pretty much very good in every area. He's an excellent two-way power forward with very good skating, passing, shooting, dangling, transitions, and defense.
There is a good chance Musty should and will be taken in the top 20 at least, maybe even the top 15. I don't do rankings because I don't have the time to watch all of the top prospects enough to be fair to everyone. But I think I'd have him in my top 15, and he is certainly one of my favourite prospects in this draft for Toronto.
The fact that he is not (yet) ranked within the top 20 that much right now is a testament to how this year's draft is more deep than most years. There seems to be more players than usual this range who are worth a first round pick in most years, but there are enough of them that it will spill well into the second round.
As of Bob McKenzie's mid-season ranking in January, Musty was ranked 26th overall – right in Toronto's range. There is a chance his ranking does increase in Bob's final ranking, but we won't know that until around a week before the draft itself. But I know that NHL teams love their international tournaments, and there were a lot of big performances by players on Sweden, Slovakia, and Team USA especially. McKenzie already did a "lottery edition" of his rankings, but that only included 12 players.
Compared to his January rankings, the big increases were all given to guys who were at the World U18s and did very well. So I think there is also a good chance that Musty, who was not at the U18s because he was in the OHL playoffs, may wind up still staying within the same range even if he's a spot or two higher. And eyeballing who was ranked ahead of him and behind him, I'm counting about a net even in players who seem like obvious candidates to be big risers or big fallers.
There is no doubt in my mind that Musty will be an NHLer. He just ticks too many boxes and has no big weakness that could hold him back. If he doesn't fix his skating or execution consistency enough, he still has the skills to be a bottom six guy. But if he does improve in those areas, and improves the other areas of his game that are already very good, he is almost a surefire top 6 winger.
Honestly before writing this profile on Musty I thought I would have had Oscar Fisker Mølgaard ahead or at least equal. But now I think I've flipped, after digging deeper on Musty and seeing just how good and balanced he is. He's another guy I think I would take straight up with 28 and not try and trade down to get him, especially since I doubt he'd last long past 28 – he may not even get down to 28 at all.
Thanks for reading!
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