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Feeling A Draft NHL teams once again look to California talent to stock rosters for future seasons By Chris Bayee

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ant more evidence that the development model of California youth hockey works? Look no further than the 2019 NHL Draft, which was held June 21-22 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Three California-born and –trained players were selected, including two in the first round, and two of the three played hockey in the state through their 16U years. The headliner was defenseman Cam York, an Anaheim Hills native who was selected 14th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. York became the highest-drafted Californian ever, surpassing Beau Bennett, who went 20th overall in 2010. York was joined by his longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks teammate and fellow defenseman Ryan Johnson, an Irvine product who was taken with the last pick of the first round (31st overall) by the Buffalo Sabres. Goaltender and Tustin native Dustin Wolf, a longtime Los Angeles Jr. King, was the third Californian taken, going to the Calgary Flames in the seventh round (214th overall). York and Johnson are only the fourth and fifth California-born and – trained players to be taken in the first round and the first since Bennett and Emerson Etem were selected in 2010 at STAPLES Center. The first was another defenseman, Jonathon Blum, who was picked in 2007.

until his family moved to L.A. when he was a Squirt, also played through 16Us with the Jr. Kings before heading to the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2017. He posted respectable numbers backing up current Flyers goaltender Carter Hart during his first season before enjoying a breakout season in 2018-19, leading WHL goalies who played 20 or more games with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

York lives up to the hype York’s selection in the first round was all but a given. He was rated the No. 12 North American skater in the final NHL Central Scouting Service rankings and had been talked about as a top U.S. prospect for the past three years. He and his NTDP cohort filled stat sheets and won games in bunches this past season. The 6-foot, 175-pound York enjoyed a breakout season with 65 points (14 goals) in 63 games with the Under-18 Team, added another 16 points in 15 international games and seven more points in 16 games against college foes. That’s 88 points in 94 games overall. York also set an NTDP record with a seven-point game in mid-January that included a hat trick. He also helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the World Under-18 tournament, leading all defensemen with 11 points and a plus-13 rating. “Hearing my name get called was special but spending time with all my teammates who got drafted as well, Different paths, same result celebrating with them was probably The trio of 2001 birth years took the most memorable for me,” York three very different paths before said. “We worked extremely hard. To hearing their name called. see everyone be drafted, I know evYork played for the Jr. Ducks eryone’s happy. To see it all pay off, it through Bantams then spent two seawas super cool for all of us.” sons at the prestigious U.S. National York is lauded for his hockey Team Development Program (NTDP), sense, skating, passing and shot where he was part of a cohort that release. How does he foresee that had eight players selected in the first fitting in the hardscrabble culture of round – a record for one organization the City of Brotherly Love? at the draft. He will play NCAA Divi“I’m super happy to be a Flyer,” sion I college hockey at the UniversiYork said. “I think my playing style ty of Michigan starting in the fall. is perfect for their system. The fans Johnson played for the Jr. Ducks are passionate. They want to win, through the 2017-18 season and also and they’re going to let you know played high school hockey for Sanhow they feel. It’s exciting. I’m sure ta Margarita Catholic in the Anaheim there’s a lot of obstacles, but I’m reDucks High School Hockey League, ally looking forward to it.” helping the Eagles win the second Ryan Johnson and Cam York both heard their name called on June 21 at the 2019 NHL Draft, Ryan Johnson, whose team faced of their three USA Hockey national which was staged north of the border in Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo/DJ Harris/THE RINKS York’s this season in a USHL game, championships in the process. He then helped the Sioux Falls Stampede win has no doubts that his longtime friend has what it takes to succeed in the the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Clark Cup championship this pro game. spring. He will play college hockey at the University of Minnesota – the same “He plays a solid game in all phases,” Johnson said. “He stood out against school his father Craig starred at in the early 1990s – starting in the fall. us. He’s a top ‘D.’” “We’re pretty excited – not just for the Jr. Ducks – but for youth hockey in California,” said Art Trottier, the Jr. Ducks president as well as the vice The son also rises president of THE RINKS. “These are two players who started with us as Ryan Johnson was the only one of nine Americans taken in the first round Mites. Ryan stayed in California until this season, demonstrating you don’t who didn’t play for the NTDP. His progression during his first year of junior have to leave the state to develop. hockey put him squarely on scouts’ radar. “To have two players taken in the first round of an NHL draft – who would He went into the draft rated the 33rd North American skater, projecting have thought?” Wolf, who played for the Santa Clara Blackhawks and Cupertino Cougars Continued on Page 10 6

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - Summer 2019  

Our summer edition, featuring longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks and recent NHL draft picks Ryan Johnson and Cam York on the cover, has hit the stre...

California Rubber Magazine - Summer 2019  

Our summer edition, featuring longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks and recent NHL draft picks Ryan Johnson and Cam York on the cover, has hit the stre...