When John Tortorella watched a quiet run at Cam York after finding out he had been brought back to the AHL, the Flyers coach was satisfied it was a positive meeting.
“We were all honest with him, honest with him in terms of the improvement we need from him, but also in the way we imagine him,” Tortorella said. “I think it’s important that he hang his hat on that.”
Tortorella added, but you have to ask York if he feels the same.
When the Flyers trimmed their roster to 34 on Wednesday morning, York was the biggest and most surprising name out of the 10 players eliminated. The list includes Tyson Foerrester, Ole Lixell, Adam Jenning, Adam Karachik, Pat Nagel, Adam Brooks, Max Wellman, Louis Belpidio and JR Avon. Brooks, Wellman, and Belpidio must clear the concessions before heading to Lehigh Valley, while Avon will report to Peterborough. From the Ontario Hockey League.
York didn’t have the best camp – Opinion Tortorella was not shy to share — but it was the organization’s first pick (No. 14 overall) under Director General Chuck Fletcher in 2019.
The 21-year-old York has played 33 professional games for the Flyers, jointly with the Flyers defensive top and bottom lineup. Last year in a struggling team, he withstood skillful and challenging attackers, checking in attackers. At the end of the season, Fletcher praised Bjork, emphasizing what he means for the team’s future.
“Cam York, to me, is a young man who will have a very bright future in this league,” Fletcher said. “Precisely because the attributes it brings are exactly what we need in terms of being able to go back to disk, [it] If she needs to skate, make the first pass quickly, if not, then go for the second. He has all of those abilities and not every defenseman has them.”
The defensive man stayed at Voorhees over the summer to play sports. He came back bigger and stronger, but it wasn’t his physical attributes that provoked Tortorella. It was his mental strength.
“I think he’s a lovely laid-back kid,” Tortorella said. “I don’t want to change his personality. I just want him to change his personality on the ice. … Everyone thinks [mental toughness] Hit, fight. Mental toughness, for me, is dealing with and controlling situations. I didn’t see that.”
Tortorella said that at training camp, York showed flashes of who he could be if he put the mental and physical parts of the game together, but he didn’t get there. So he will spend more time with Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Tortorella said it’s not a punishment. They don’t “throw it away”. This is the best for York development.
“I think that’s the perfect situation for him,” Tortorella said. “I know it sounds like a high-choice, and it’s a big problem to drop him. I don’t think it is. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Top defender Ivan Provorov played only one game before the start of the season and then sat through the next training with a lower body injury. He returned Tuesday but was shot in the face. He said he’s feeling good and should be 100% by the start of the season, but he’s being careful.
“We haven’t started the regular season for another nine days,” said Provorov. “Obviously, pre-season is important. But trying to get out there yesterday and trying to force it a bit wasn’t – we didn’t think it was the right call.”
Provorov is not worried that the timeout will affect his chemistry with his new defensive partner, Tony DiAngelo – he said that usually develops during the regular season – but he has missed camping with the squad.
“If I show up ten minutes early, I feel like I’m late,” said Provorov. “So getting away from that, whatever it was, three, four days was tough.”
With York gone, four defending men remained vying to be Justin Brown’s defensive partner in the third pair. Veteran veterans Nick Sealer and Kevin Connaughton were both part of the team last season, and Sealer in particular has stood out this season. Youngsters Ronnie Attard, 23, and Igor Zamola, 22, also remained. Attard scored points with Tortorella after dropping the gloves on Tuesday night, but Tortorella said he would likely start the season at the Palace.
A few strikers continue to fight for positions, including Wade Allison, Noah and Jackson Keats, Morgan Frost, Hayden Hodgson, Tanner Lazinski, Zach McEwen and Owen Tibbett. Other than Noah Kitts, no one has risen much above the others, leading Tortorella to say he expects the roster to be fluid, with movement back and forth between the AHL and the NHL.
Flyers also still have four guards on the roster. Tortorella said he has no idea what the goalkeeper’s situation will look like, as starting player Carter Hart and potential backer Felix Sandstrom deal with lower-body injuries. He added that the competition for the reserve job is fierce between Sandstrom and other goalkeepers Troy Grosnik and Samuel Ersson.
The 34-player roster also includes six players who are not expected to be available for the October 13 opening game against the New Jersey Devils. Patrick Brown (back), Bobby Brink (hip), Sean Couturier (back), Ryan Ellis (thigh/hip), Joel Farabi (neck), and Cooper Marrody (upper body) are still dealing with injuries. Farabi is skating and has not been officially disqualified from the opening match.
Center Artem Anisimov, who is undergoing a professional trial, also remains on the list although he has not participated since September 25 due to a lower body injury. Counting the outbound injuries and decreasing the two incoming guards, Flyers now have 26 skaters. The pilots will need to submit their official 23-man roster on Monday.