The Philadelphia Flyers have signed defender Cam York to a two-year contract that will keep the rising star’s talents in Philly. The young blueliner is projected to be an integral part of the team’s rebuilding process. After a fairly successful season, he will look to build on his experiences and grow further as an NHL player.
York came into the Flyers’ fold in 2019 as the 14th overall pick in the draft. He played for two seasons with the University of Michigan, scoring nine goals with 35 points in 54 games. At the conclusion of his sophomore year at Michigan in 2021, he hit the professional ranks; playing eight games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and three with the Flyers. The following season, he played the bulk of the season in Allentown while getting a late season call up for 30 games with Philly.
It was widely believed that York had done enough work during that call up session with the Flyers to earn a roster spot on last year’s team. In a surprising move, he was sent down by new head coach John Tortorella for some seasoning. York had a good showing in camp, but was demoted to Lehigh Valley nonetheless.
By December, the Flyers’ fortunes had taken a turn. The team had been through some extended losing streaks and had suffered some injuries. Flyers management made the decision to call up York. He scored his first goal of the season in his third game against Colorado. By the end of the month, he had racked up six points.
His scoring cooled down as the Flyers’ season became streaky. York scored two total goals all season with 18 assists. However, he was a respectable -1 while averaging 19.39 minutes of ice time. Only Nick Seeler had a better +/- rating for defenders and he was fourth on the team in terms of average ice time. By the end of the season, he was logging over 20 minutes of ice time regularly, include a 26:29 performance against Boston.
While many people might not be excited by a 20 point performance by a defenseman who is supposed to have great offensive awareness and skills, you have to examine the numbers further. He appeared in just 54 games for Philadelphia after playing in 20 for Lehigh Valley. He popped into the lineup after the Flyers plummeted in the standings. He was constantly shifted with defensive partners and defensive lines throughout the season with little consistency while the team battled injuries and tried to balance the playing times of prospects and veteran players.
York’s contract gives him a $300K signing bonus to go along with a $1.3 million contract for the 2023-24 season. The following year, he will earn $1.6 million and still be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
With Ivan Provorov traded away and rumors swirling about Travis Sanheim and Tony DeAngelo, York’s role is expected to rise on the team. The 22 year old is primed to play on either the top or even second defensive unit.
The signing of York shows a commitment by the Flyers to their future. They also re-signed Noah Cates hours prior. If both York and Cates can build off of the successful strides they made this past season, then perhaps this rebuild by the Flyers won’t take that long after all.