Flyers’ Cam York Deserves an Opportunity to Stay in NHL

The Philadelphia Flyers have finally made it clear that the 2021-22 NHL season is out of reach as they continue to lose game after game down the stretch. The Flyers currently sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with an overall record of 18-30-11and are not going anywhere fast anytime soon. Frustrations have started boiling over as interim head coach Mike Yeo was clearly upset following Sunday evening’s 4-3 overtime collapse against the Montreal Canadiens (from ‘‘Take ice time away … Scratch guys if we have to’: Mike Yeo plans a response after Flyers reach new low,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/14/2022).

Cam York Philadelphia Flyers
Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Take ice time away,” Yeo said after the game on Sunday. “Put guys on the fourth line. Scratch guys if we have to. I don’t even know if we have enough. Call guys up. These are veteran players we’re going to have to do it to, too. Got to get the job done.

“We’re going to have to keep finding ways to get players to understand that you can play the way you want to play or you can play winning hockey,” he said.

Getting the job done has not been the answer for this team, especially the current defensive core. After tensions with Ivan Provorov seemingly came out of nowhere, the team needs to look at other options to step up and fill the void this season has been. One of those major defensive options is Cam York, who has already played 16 games this season. York would benefit from gaining vital experience at the NHL level for the remainder of the season rather than making a push to the playoffs with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Stepping Into a Bigger Role

York is at the point in his development where he needs to start making the jump towards stepping into a more prominent role with the Flyers. With the uncertainties of the current defensive core moving forward, it is time to let the young guns have their shot at an opportunity to make a name for themselves. York is the perfect defenseman to give more responsibility to as he has proved he is ready to make a big splash in the NHL. While he is not at the level the team was hoping for at this point, he is still only 21-years-old with 19 games of NHL experience. 

Being sent back and forth to the Phantoms a handful of times already this season has proved he is embracing the grind of being a young hockey player. Regardless of which level he is gaining experience from, he has continued working hard while making a name for himself (from ‘Flyers’ fond memories of Cam York carry him back up to the NHL,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/10/2022).

“Anytime I get the opportunity to go down there and play a lot of minutes, I just focus on just being ready every single shift,” York said. “Because when I come up here, everyone’s so good. Guys can make plays and make things happen.”

Cam York Philadelphia Flyers
Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Since being recalled by the Flyers, York has produced one goal and three assists, with three of those points coming on the power play. Throughout his career, he has served as the point man for the power play and hopes nothing changes as he makes his way into the NHL full-time.

“I’ve been on the power play pretty much my whole career,” he said. “I’m familiar with the position, and I’m comfortable doing it, running it. For me, just trying to help the guys in any way that I can. I know that they’re struggling a bit.”

As long as he keeps doing what he needs to do on and off the ice, he will quickly become a household name for NHL defenseman in the near future. Flyers fans want nothing more than for him to pay off as he was selected in the first round of a loaded 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Everything he has done up until this point in his career has proved why the organization moved up in the draft to get him so hopefully, that trend continues.

Proving His Worth to Veteran Leadership

For the majority of this season, York has played on the third defensive pair with Keith Yandle, NHL Ironman streak holder with nearly 1,000 straight NHL games played. Yandle is the perfect defenseman to learn from as he has been one of the most consistent net-front forces over the course of his career. Despite his struggles this season, he is one of the most down-to-earth human beings and easy-going guys in the locker room.

Having the ability to learn from a player like Yandle has been a valuable experience for the young defensive prospect. When the Flyers signed him this offseason, York did not look at the situation as a lost opportunity. He knew he was still going to have to work just as hard regardless of who was in front of him (from ‘Flyers defenseman Cam York remains unconcerned after dropping on the depth chart: ‘I still believe in myself’,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/30/2021).

“I still believe in myself. I think I can make the team still, but it’s a long year,” York said this offseason. “It’s 82 games and the schedule is really tight. There are going to be a lot of guys coming in and out of the lineup. If you block a shot wrong, you’re out eight games. That’s eight games that people need to fill.

“I didn’t look at it like, ‘Dang, there goes my spot.’ I’m still confident. I still believe in myself.”

Believing in himself is exactly what he has done all season as more guys have gone down with injuries than the team knows what to do with. Looking back, he almost had no other choice but to prepare himself for an NHL season, which is ultimately what ended up happening anyway. At the end of the day, he still ended up making an impact with both the Phantoms and Flyers over the course of this season, where he will look to continue improving and earning a spot in the NHL.

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