It doesn’t appear that anybody was really expecting 21-year-old defenseman Cam York to start the season so far behind the eight ball. He was projected to start the season on the third pair in the NHL alongside Justin Braun with the goal of overthrowing Travis Sanheim and earning consistent top four minutes as early as next season.
But that didn’t exactly happen.
Instead, he had an underwhelming preseason, lost his NHL spot to Egor Zamula, got demoted to the Phantoms, and now has an uphill battle to return to the high expectations that were laid for him as a former first round pick.
Though with Travis Sanheim signing an eight-year extension last week and Provorov already under contract until 2025, the left side of the Flyers defense is taken care of, muddying the waters when it comes to Cam York’s path to the NHL.
Sanheim’s extension does seem to shed some light on how the organization views York internally. If they truly considered him a top four option within the next calendar year, would the organization feel the need to re-sign Sanheim?
Now, you always have to take questions like this with a grain of salt because there is an x-factor here, that being Chuck Fletcher is an idiot with no semblance of a long-term plan for the organization. What are the chances he asked himself any of these questions before negotiating with Sanheim?
There is a more positive outlook here, and that being the organization has a lot of eggs in the basket of York and want him to develop to his fullest potential before forcing him into NHL action full time, so they’re committed go the low and slow approach when it comes to his development.
John Tortorella did give a bit of an interesting quote on Monday when he was asked about recalling Zack MacEwen to the main roster and it essentially boiled down to “MacEwen got sent down but had a great attitude about it, thus he was high on the recall list when the opportunity arose.”
It seems to indicate there was someone who was sour grapes about being sent down. There’s obviously no way of knowing for sure it was a shot at Cam York, but there are very few other people that stray could’ve been intended for. There’s a good chance Tortorella wasn’t throwing shade at Max Willman, you know?
Now, from a cap perspective, things aren’t great, but money doesn’t really impact York for the time being. His entry-level deal is up this coming summer, but considering he’s probably going to spend a bulk of the season in the AHL, he won’t see an extension worth more than maybe $900,000. It’s a perfect number for a third pair NHL defeseman, and when he’s limited in that role, the Flyers can probably squeak another year or two out of him for less than $2 million. By that point either the cap goes up, Provorov’s deal expires, or both.
It’s very possible York is in the NHL on the third pair by season’s end, and having a one-two-three punch of Provorov, Sanheim and York on the left side is pretty solid and the only real sign of depth this organization can currently flaunt. But Egor Zamula has looked good during his NHL appearances so far, and if York is an unhappy camper in Lehigh, it could be a much harder hill to climb than originally anticipated. With the franchise seemingly disenchanted with York at the moment, one has to wonder what comes next for the 21-year-old defenseman?
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
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