The 2019 NHL Draft was filled with talent. The top 5 was pretty much cemented by analysts and hockey writers all over. Hughes and Kakko were the consensus #1 and #2, while the trio of Alex Turcotte, Bowen Byram, and Kirby Dach would go 3-4-5, in no particular order. After that, it was a landslide and almost anyone could go anywhere.
The hope for most Flyers fans was to see a prolific winger selected with the 11th overall pick, but to their dismay, that isn’t what happened. Chuck Fletcher made the first and only trade of the first round by moving the 11th pick to Arizona in exchange for picks 14 and 45, knowing the player they wanted would still be there.
With the 14th pick, the Flyers had the choice of many offensively gifted forwards. They had dynamic center Peyton Krebs, speedy center Alex Newhook or the USNTDP 72-goal scorer Cole Caufield. In a twisted turn of events, the pick ended up being the highly skilled defenseman, Cam York.
Cam York – LHD – 5’11” – 172 lbs
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against this pick whatsoever, as I think you can never have enough defensive depth. The Flyers have seen their fair share of homegrown talent make it to the NHL; Provorov, Sanheim, Gostisbehere, Myers, Hagg, and Morin (limited). So in a way, they need to refill the cupboards, as they do have multiple forwards in who will eventually land on the roster.
My gripe was passing on Caufield not once, but twice. For so many years, the Flyers have been missing a sniper and Caufield is without a doubt the best pure shooter in the draft. His size was probably used as a deterrent throughout his young career, but assistant GM Brent Flahr confirmed that he did not care about his size. After all, we’ve seen small players have a lot of success at the NHL level.
Now was Caufield the perfect fit for Philadelphia? Would he really have made a massive difference in the grand scheme of things? We will never know. What we do know is that the Flyers added the best defenseman on the USNTDP.
What makes York a good pick? Well first off, he has excellent vision and is an incredible skater, his speed is good and his edgework is superb. If you watch the NHL in 2019, almost every top defenseman is a prolific skater.
Here is another look at his explosive skating.
His vision separates him from the average defenseman. York has the ability to find the open man even in high-traffic areas and has proven to be a great PP quarterback, he is a terrific passer. After all, he did have 51 assists last season.
His play is eerily similar to Shayne Gostisbehere. Explosive skating, likes to join the rush, excellent passing, and vision. The only area York would need to improve on is his shooting, as he doesn’t necessarily have a cannon from the blue line.
His offensive side is raved about by scouts and writers around the league, but York uses his skating ability defensively as well. He maintains a good gap and defends well off the rush. He also has an active stick, giving him the ability to cut off passing lanes. Flahr and his scouts had some high praise for the youngster.
It’s ok to be upset about Fletcher not drafting the player you wanted. I desperately wanted to Caufield to be the pick, but York remains an immense talent that we, as Flyers fans, should cherish. He will hopefully be a difference maker down the line.
The draft resumes at 1 p.m. today and the Flyers have a couple of third round picks and a second rounder from the Arizona trade that they could use to move up. There is a still a lot of talent on the board and if the Flyers want a shooter, Arthur Kaliyev is still sitting pretty.