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A number of forwards from the US NTDP have already been profiled in this series. However, the team also features a number of high-quality defence prospects. The first of the prospects to be looked at is California native Cam York. Born in Anaheim Hills, York continues to show the influence of the NHL’s expansion to the southern United States, as the region continues to produce high-quality hockey prospects. York played his youth hockey for the Anaheim Junior Ducks. He would later head down a more traditional development path as he played at Shattuck St. Mary’s and with the NTDP.
York split the 2017-18 season between the Under-17 and Under-18 US teams, picking up a gold at the U17 World Hockey Challenge and a silver at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. This season, York is leading the blueline for one of the strongest U-18 teams in memory. He has scored 10 goals and 51 points in 54 games. York and his teammates are currently preparing for this year’s IIHF Under 18. Next season, York is committed to attend the University of Michigan.
Cam York Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born May 1st, 2001 — Anaheim Hills, California
Height 5’11” — Weight 174 lbs [180 cm / 79 kg]
York is a very good skater. He has good but not great speed and acceleration in both directions. However, it is his outstanding edgework, agility, and pivots that really set him apart. York’s footwork allows him to maintain good gap control in the defensive end. It also allows him to make quick movements in the offensive zone, helping him get open to receive a pass when he does not have the puck or to create a shooting or passing lane with it. It is this strong skating ability that gives York the ability to play a strong two-way game. He is also strong on his skates. York has good balance, helping him to battle in front of the net and on the boards.
York’s biggest asset is his hockey sense. He usually makes smart decisions both with and without the puck. York joins the rush and pinches at the right times. He also makes the right breakout pass and can skate the puck out of danger when necessary. This allows him to create offence while still maintaining his defensive responsibilities. York has excellent vision and the passing skills to quarterback the power play. He can put the puck through tight spaces and can set up teammates on both his forehand and backhand. He sees and anticipates the movements his teammates will make.
York also has a hard shot but needs to get better at getting it through shooting lanes and on the net. While his skating gives him the ability to create those shooting lanes, he sometimes rushes to get a shot off and does not always take advantage of his abilities. Being a little more patient would help him here. York likes to sneak down from the point and use his wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circles.
York’s strong skating ability allows him to maintain gap control, and to keep opponents to the outside, playing a strong defensive game. His quick stick poke checks opponents and creates turnovers. He also reads the play well and his positioning is strong. His ability to move the puck up the ice quickly helps to clear the zone and minimize the opponent’s zone time. York could stand to play a bit more physical though.
Projection and Comparison
York’s game is reminiscent of Keith Yandle, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability. He could develop into a top pairing defender with the ability to move the puck up the ice, create offence from the back end, and quarterback the power play. Some time in the NCAA to bulk up as well as to continue to work on using his skating to create shooting lanes would help him going forward. He’s likely two to three years away from being NHL ready.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Cam York that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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