VOORHEES, N.J. – Cam York will play for the Flyers someday, it’s just a question of when.
York wants when to be now.
So what if the Flyers added veteran defensemen Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Keith Yandle during the offseason?
Even with those impressive upgrades, York sees no point in going back to the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms without a fight.
That’s the kind of competitive attitude most coaches and general managers want to hear. When dealing with many players, it could be an indication they won’t settle for second best.
“I saw where they made a lot of veteran acquisitions,’’ York said at the Skate Zone. “It made things a little tougher for me for sure. But I’m a confident player. I think I can crack this lineup. I’m doing to do everything I can to get myself in the lineup. I’m confident I can do that.’’
Phantoms coach Ian Laperriere, who is overseeing the four-day camp, said he’s seen a glimpse of York’s spirit after a brief trial with the Flyers at the end of last season.
“How many games did he play for us last year?’’ Laperriere said. “Just three. He played really well for us. Some kids would have went back home and felt comfortable. He didn’t do that. You can tell just by the way he skates, the ways he’s loud out there. Not loud, but he’s engaged. That’s what I was looking for. He’s very engaged out there.’’
Laperriere has been impressed by York’s fitness level and that didn’t happen by accident.
“I don’t know if he put weight on, but he does look like it,’’ the coach said. “When you see that it’s because they did put in the work. He goes back to California; he trains up there and he’s got a great group of trainers up in Orange County that trains the right way. You can tell on the ice. He might have a surprising (regular) camp, too.’’
That brief trial last spring gave York a taste of the NHL and now he’s developed a hunger for remaining at the top.
“I wasn’t up for a ton of games,’’ he said. “I learned a lot and just to be up there and kind of see how things work, how the players operate, how the coaches operate was a very good experience.’’
If you add Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun to the aforementioned new Flyers on the roster, you have a pretty formidable six-man defense corps. The popular belief is that York will battle Sam Morin for the seventh defense spot.
The question is whether either young player would benefit sitting on the Flyers’ bench every night when they could be getting regular playing time in Allentown.
“That’s probably a better question for the coaches,’’ York admitted. “I’m just going to do my thing and I’ll see where I end up.’’
All things considered, it’s been a dizzying ride for York the past year or so. He endured a case of COVID, starred for the University of Michigan, was captain of the United States World Junior team, played for the Phantoms and then the Flyers.
“It’s been a whirlwind for sure, playing with a bunch of new guys,’’ he said. “Just being comfortable in the locker room with the guys can be a challenge. This year, just knowing the schedule and what’s going down and all the players, it’s going to be really helpful to me. I’m just looking forward to a normal year.’’
By the way, with the Flyers looking to allow a lot less fewer goals this season, perhaps they should check out the score of the World Juniors gold medal game: United States 2, Canada 0. York was right in the middle of that big shutout for the Americans.