Colorado Avalanche: Cam York a Smart Two-Way Defenseman

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 30: Cam York poses for a portrait at the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MAY 30: Cam York poses for a portrait at the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

American defenseman Cam York’s hockey sense could be what the Colorado Avalanche need.

With less than a week to go until the 2019 NHL draft the Colorado Avalanche will now have their lists ready and have a good idea of who they want for their two first round picks. As a reminder here is the full list of picks the Avalanche have available at this year’s draft:

More from Draft

#4 (from Ottawa)
#63 (also from Ottawa)

Ideally I’d like to see the Avalanche pick up a defenseman with one of their first round picks and Cam York is a potential option.

Cam York

2018-19 Team: Univ. of Michigan (NCAA)
Date of Birth: May 5, 2001 (18 years old)
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 172 lbs.
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left

Ranked #12 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #17 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #12 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #15 by TSN/McKenzie

With these ranking it’s unlikely the Avalanche will use their 4th pick on York but he could be an option for their 16th if he’s still available.

Although he’s small for a defenseman Cam York has been universally praised for his hockey sense. Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey says:

"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."

This sentiment is echoed by Hannah Stuart at The Score who says:

"His hockey sense is high end, lending itself to smart decision-making under pressure and excellent passing ability, though he could stand to get his own shot on net more consistently. (That area of his game looked more promising at the U18 worlds, where he scored four goals in seven games.)"

Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst describes York as “Arguably the purest offensive defenseman available in the draft.”

Defensively York’s vision and skating ability allow him to create turnovers and move the puck quickly. He’s not as physical as some defensemen, but he doesn’t shy away from hits either. Kerr says:

"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."

Kournianos agrees and adds:

"His overall defensive game is predicated on smart reads and quick feet. York isn’t physical on a consistent basis, but he doesn’t shy away from contact and has thrown big open-ice hits every now and again, plus he battles hard for slot superiority. He does have quick enough feet to close on a puck carrier, but at times he affords them too much room by not standing up at his line."

Cam York in action:

Cam York and the Colorado Avalanche

Cam York would be something of a project for the Avalanche if they drafted him with their 16th pick. Kerr advises:

"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."

So, if the Avalanche are looking for someone who will be ready to join the team immediately or even in a year’s time they should probably pass on Cam York. If they are willing to invest the time needed for him to fully develop then he definitely has potential.

Next. 2019 NHL Mock Draft. dark

The 2019 NHL Draft takes place in Vancouver, with the first round on June 21 at 6pm MT and the second round on June 22 at 11am MT.