ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22. Defenseman Cameron York is the No. 12-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the fourth and 16th overall selections in the first round of the draft.
American Cameron York has showed that he is one of the top offensive defensemen in the 2019 NHL Draft.
York finished the 2018-19 campaign with 65 points (14 goals, 51 assists) in 63 contests, finishing as the top defenseman and fifth overall skater in scoring on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program's Under-18 team.
His 65 points are the highest single-season total by a D-man in NTDP history. Over the course of his two years and 122 career games with the program, York registered 103 points (22 goals, 81 assists) and is just the second defenseman in NTDP history to reach the 100-point mark.
The 5-foot-11, 172-pound blueliner increased his point total by 27 points from the previous year when he split time between the under-17 and under-18 squads, and he credits his improvement to the mental side of the game.
"For me, it's about my confidence level this season on the ice," York said to USAHockey.com during the 2018-19 season. "This year, when I'm on the ice, I want the puck and will drive to the net. Last year in games, I wasn't always sure what to do--especially playing against older and stronger players--I wasn't always sure about that, but this year I have much more confidence in my play on the ice."
He earned USHL Defenseman of the Week honors twice this season, one for the week ending on Jan. 20 and another for the week ending on March 17.
York received the first title after he became the first NTDP player to tally seven points in a single USHL game on Jan. 15. He scored three times and added four assists against the Youngstown Phantoms to lead his club to a 11-3 victory.
However, York values the time he spends in his own end defending the opposition as much as he does in creating plays in the offensive zone.
"I've told many teams I don't feel I get enough credit for my defensive game," York said to NHL.com at the 2019 Scouting Combine. "Obviously you see the record that I've broken offensively, but defensively I take a lot of pride in that as well. I feel like I'm an elite defender, always have an active stick, always in good position. I feel I'm an underrated defenseman.
"I always have an active stick, stick on puck, limiting guys' time and space as much as possible. I think that has benefited me as a player. It's something that I'm going to continue to do at the college level and hopefully the NHL level."
With the NTDP based in Plymouth, Michigan, the Anaheim Hills, California, native will stay in the same state for the 2019-20 season, though he will be in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.
When he plays his first game as a Wolverine at Yost Ice Arena in the fall, it will not be the first time that he has competed on that ice sheet. The U.S. NTDP defeated Michigan 6-3 in October before York committed to play at the university.
"It was awesome," said York, who tallied an assist in the game. "We went into Yost to compete and to come up with a win was the cherry on top. I was happy with the game. I really do remember the bright lights, the crowd and the band. It was a packed house, even for our game.
"The coaching staff and facilities are some of the best in college hockey. I really liked the way that the state of Michigan supports the team. It was one of the first things that I noticed."
With the skills that he has developed during his time at the U.S. NTDP, York will look to continue to improve and have more hockey successes at Michigan that will hopefully lead him to the NHL.