2019 NHL Draft Preview: Cam York, USA Defenseman

That light at the end of the tunnel is getting ever so bright, as we draw closer and closer to the big event. In advance of next week’s NHL Draft, the Kings scouting staff is said to have completed nearly 100 different profiles, interviews, and reports on a full plethora players. For example, they spoke with Craig Johnson’s son, Ryan, as well as German defender Moritz Seider, and high-scoring winger Cole Caufield. That’s not to suggest any of those three players will be selected by Los Angeles, rather it shows they’re leaving no stone unturned in their quest to finalize a list ranking players according to internal preference.

Among the dozen or so players near the top of said list could be one with local ties to Southern California. Considering a key intangible for prospects often centers on how they may help mold the culture, taking a look at someone who has lived in the general area and understands the overall lifestyle may have some advantages – especially when it eventually comes to integrating into the team’s AHL and NHL clubhouses. 



Date of Birth: January 21, 2001
Height: 5’11
Weight: 172 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defense

2018-19 Season

York spent his entire 2018-19 season with the USNTDP U-18 club, scoring 65 points (14 G, 51 A) in 63 games – leading all defensemen on his team. Further, he represented Team USA and earned a bronze medal at the U-18 World Championship, putting up 11 points (4 G, 7 A) in seven contests.

Momentous Tournament

Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield weren’t the only Americans who made their mark in the U-18 tournament. York was named to the event’s All-Star Team, recognized for the following accomplishments:

  • Best Plus/Minus (+13)
  • Most Assists by a Defenseman
  • Most Goals by a Defenseman
  • Most Points by a Defenseman
  • Top 3 Player on Team USA (along with Hughes and Caufield)

The Game

York set the USNTDP record for points in a single game with seven (3 G, 4 A) against the Youngstown Phantoms. He was also two points shy of passing the USHL record.

Not A Rebel

York was drafted late in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Red Deer Rebels, but like several of the other top American prospects among this crop, he chose not to play in the Candadian major junior league. This allowed him to maintain his NCAA eligibility; with expectations he’ll begin play at the University of Michigan following this summer.

Michigan was not his first choice, however. York originally committed to Boston College in 2016, but changed his mind after then-defensive coach for BC, Greg Brown, left to join the New York Rangers.

Several former Michigan players have ties to the Kings organization – inlcluding: Mike Cammalleri, Carl Hagelin, Jack Johnson, Rob Palmer, and Jeff Tambellini.

Put Down the Pitchforks

York hails from Anaheim Hills, CA. He started playing roller hockey at first, but when the local rink closed, ice hockey was all he had. Growing up, he was primarily a Ducks fan, played for the Jr. Ducks, and was even coached by former NHL/Ducks legend Scott Niedermayer. If the Kings draft him, he’ll surely change alliances… right?

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

  • 20th by The Draft Analyst, who further explained, “Although Team USA’s Cam York is an excellent skater who rivals Byram’s point-producing proclivity, he and the rest of the draft-eligible puck rushers from North America cannot impact the game defensively the way Byram can.”
  • 15th by Sportsnet, writing: “Puck moving defenseman who can get it done on the power play, his U18 numbers are amongst the best single tournament totals ever put up by a defenseman with 11 points in seven games.”
  • 17th by Dobber Prospects, where Cam Robinson described York as: “A mobile and calm defender with tremendous skating ability. Effective on the power play and owns the mobility needed to clean up any mistakes he makes. Defensively, his positioning and use of stick continue to improve. Lots to like about his upside. An all-around player.”

See For Yourself

Enjoy this highlight reel of York’s international play, which really accentuates some of his key abilities with the puck.

Final Comments

Purely from a talent perspective, York has the attributes most appropriate for the ever-developing NHL. He’s a skilled puck mover with good skating ability. Plus, he has good vision and an offensive IQ, making him a true threat from the blueline. While he’s rather average in size, it’s not expected to be a barrier at the next level. And while locale does not make a prospect ‘better’ on its own, he may be a better fit than some, when considering he has already called southern California home for most of his life.

Then again, the Kings have tended to overlook that point with other players in past drafts. Will they follow suit here or break with tradition and take the hometown kid? We’ll know soon enough.

NOTE: Author David Hofreiter can be found on Twitter @Davidenkness if you’re interested in talking more hockey with him or asking further questions about this player.


2019 NHL Draft Preview: Cole Caufield, USA Forward

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  1. BigMouthBarry says:

    Remember when we all wanted local kid Emerson Etem – he didn’t quite work out – great job as always Johnny Boy!

    • John Hoven says:

      Thanks for reading. FYI – these profile articles are being put together by one of the MM writers, David Hofreiter.