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Carchidi: Flyers’ Decision to Demote Cam York Makes Sense, But Only If….



Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers

Defenseman Cam York wasn’t that good in the preseason, especially when he got outmuscled for a puck that led to a shorthanded Islanders goal in his final appearance.

But he wasn’t that bad, either.

The Philadelphia Flyers sent him to the minors because they wanted him to play with more confidence, wanted him to be more of a take-charge player on the ice.

I also believe there was another reason for the demotion: New coach John Tortorella wanted to send a message. He wanted to show the other players it wasn’t lip service when earlier in camp the coach said no one was guaranteed a roster spot — not even a highly touted former first-round pick like York.

So Torts sent a message, and you can bet it made the other players, especially the younger ones, snap to attention.

Tortorella doesn’t mind York’s California cool persona; he just doesn’t like it on the ice. Understandably, he wants him more engaged, more driven, more hungry.

Flyers Podcast: Cam York Fallout, Preseason’s (Few) Positives, Roster Makeup, and More

‘Play the kids’

Earlier in camp, Tortorella vowed to “play the kids.” That’s why there was an outcry from some fans when the 21-year-old York – -who was solid in a 30-game stint with Philly last season — was sent down.

The Flyers are not going to be very good this season, so they at least need to give the young players playing time and develop them for the future.

In short, find out what you have here.

That said, I don’t have a problem demoting York — as long as he returns after a month or so, assuming he is playing well for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The Flyers need to go young this season. That’s why it would be nice if Egor Zamula, 22, won the spot as the third-pairing defenseman on the left side, the spot York was ticketed to to play.

Zamula led Flyers defensemen with seven shots in the preseason. He is a puck mover and would seemingly mesh well with veteran Justin Braun as his partner. The 6-foot-3 Russian bulked up by 15 pounds (to 192) this summer,  got much stronger, and has had a solid camp.

Reward him.

No offense to Nick Seeler, the other third-pairing candidate on the left side.  Love his effort. Love how he doesn’t back down to anyone. He has played with tenacity and has done a good job in the preseason. But he’s a 29-year-old journeyman, and the Flyers aren’t going anywhere this season.

Play Zamula. Groom him. Keep Seeler as the extra defenseman. Give the defense a jolt of youth.

If Zamula doesn’t do the job, and York is playing well in the AHL after, say, a month, flip-flop the two players.

If Zamula plays well, York can stay in Lehigh Valley until there’s an inevitable injury to someone on the blue line. Or someone is struggling mightily.

Demoting York, Tortorella said, wasn’t a big deal. It was in the defenseman’s best interest, and he is still a big part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ future plans.

Makes sense. So does keeping Zamula.

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