There is room for youth on the Philadelphia Flyers defense. The average age of all the Flyers defensemen who have played a game in the NHL this season is 28.4. The two oldest defensemen are Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen. In the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Chuck Fletcher selected a defenseman with his fourteenth overall pick. That selection was a nineteen year old from California, Cameron York.
This season, Justin Braun (32) is receiving $3.8mil and will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2020-2021 season. Shayne Gostisbehere (26) is on a bad contract at $4.5mil AAV through 2022-2023. He’ll continue to be a trade piece unless he can replicate his season from 2017-2018. Matt Niskanen (33) has another year with the Philadelphia Flyers on his contract and should stay since he has played well this season, specifically on the powerplay. What does this mean for the future of the Flyers defense?
In removing a veteran defenseman and potentially trading a young, two-way defenseman, the Philadelphia Flyers could look within their system for replacements. Based on this season, Mark Friedman could be the next man up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Samuel Morin missed this season, so he would likely condition again with the Phantoms before seeing more NHL time. Wyatte Wiley just signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers eight days ago.
At the University of Michigan, Cameron York played thirty games in his first season and tallied sixteen points. York’s +/- was 9 in his first NCAA season. That is good for the most productive of all defensemen on the University of Michigan hockey team this season. The Philadelphia Flyers have the rights to York. You love to see that, especially from a player who earned a bronze and silver medal in the Under 18 World Junior Cup.
After reviewing Cameron York’s first season with the University of Michigan, it’s apparent that he is a highly-skilled defenseman. He’s a great passer, which explains his playmaking ability. York gets in the passing lanes, is active with the poke check, and possesses superb fundamental positioning. His greatest strength is his defensive vision. Since he has such high intelligence, York can read the defensive zone and anticipate plays before they happen.
There are a few years of hockey to be played before Cameron York is likely signed by the Philadelphia Flyers. He’ll likely battle with players such as Samuel Morin and Wyatte Wiley in his journey to the NHL. Under Alain Vigneault, the Flyers are in a great position on the defensive side of the puck. Philadelphia could have a nucleus of defensemen around the average age of 24.8 before the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline. There is depth in the Flyers system for defensemen, which means a young, talented future is expected to come.
Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports