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Cam York Turned Demotion Into New Flyers Contract And Bright Future

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Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
Cam York (Photo: AP)

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Cam York, coming off a productive rookie season, hit training camp last year with every expectation of seeing his career blossom under new coach John Tortorella.

Except that didn’t happen.

Despite the Philadelphia Flyers needing defensive help, York was dispatched to Lehigh Valley to start the season. The demotion was stunning to the 2019 14th overall pick.

“I obviously wanted to make the team out of camp, and I wasn’t able to do that,” York said at the team’s breakup day in April.

“It’s not the end of the world, but I wanted to go down kind of with a chip on my shoulder and play really well, and I felt like I did.

“Twenty games down there, it felt like I played really good. Did what I needed to do. Playing in all situations helps and kind of just builds your confidence, and it felt like I came up here and tried to do the same thing.”

Strong Return

York returned on Dec. 9 at Vegas and played well. He played 53 of the next 54 games. He scored two goals and 18 assists and was a minus-1.

York’s fine play was rewarded with a two-year contract worth $3.2 million ($1.6 million AAV) on Monday.

“Cam York had a tough training camp,” general manager Daniel Briere said recently. “He went down, put his time in in the minors, really came back rejuvenated and was a great player for us. He’s obviously an important part of the future for the Flyers.”

One of York’s fellow defensemen, Travis Sanheim, saw the difference in York’s play.

“He’s obviously a great player,” Sanheim said. “I think I said when he got sent down at the start of the season that he’s going to come back better than ever.

“He’s obviously a big part of this team moving forward. I thought he took a big step this year.”

York’s continued development would be a huge step in the Flyers’ development. Their defense is a work in progress. The Flyers traded away one of their veteran, heavy-minute guys this offseason, Ivan Provorov. Another such veteran, Tony DeAngelo, is said to going to Carolina in a trade.

The Flyers recently added 36-year-old veteran Marc Staal to join veterans Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen. Beyond those three, the Flyers have York and probably two other young players — with less experience than York, who is 22 years old.

One sticking point between York and Tortorella was the defenseman’s perceived lack of aggressiveness. That’s an aspect of the game York believes he has improved.

“It’s something that I try to do every game,” York said during his breakup day interview. “Obviously, some games it doesn’t work out, and I hear about i.

“[Tortorella] is on me often about it, and it’s something I try to bring every game obviously. Sometimes it doesn’t go my way or I’ll make a mistake or a turnover and it doesn’t end up well, but it’s something that I feel like when I’m playing my best, I am really aggressive, and I think he sees that, too.”

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