Former Anaheim Jr. Ducks defensemen Cam York and Ryan Johnson are in position to be among the highest-drafted California-born and trained players ever at June’s NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.
York, who is competing for the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, is the 12th-ranked North American skater in the final NHL Central Scouting Service draft rankings. That projects to being selected in the first round.
Johnson, who is in his first year of junior hockey with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, is rated the 33rd North American skater, a second-round projection.
Only three California-born and trained players – Beau Bennett (20th overall in 2010), Jonathon Blum (23rd overall in 2007) and Emerson Etem (29th overall in 2010) – have been selected in the first round of an NHL Entry Draft. Only seven more who played a significant amount of time in the state have been taken in the second round.
York, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound left shot, also was ranked 12th in the mid-term rankings. He is enjoying a breakout season with 51 points (41 assists) in 54 NTDP games, and he has another nine points in 11 international games thus far. He set an NTDP record with a seven-point game in mid-January that included a hat trick.
The 6-foot, 162-pound Johnson, who has moved up from 36th in the mid-term rankings, was selected the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in December. He had 25 points in 54 regular-season games and led the team in plus/minus as a 17-year-old with a plus-24. He has helped the Stampede into the second round of the Clark Cup Playoffs.
York and Johnson are two of 21 Jr. Ducks players – including eight 2001 birth years - who have made NCAA Division I college commitments in the past five years. York committed to Michigan, while Johnson committed to Big Ten rival Minnesota, the school his father Craig played at from 1990-93. Craig Johnson and Scott Niedermayer coached the Jr. Ducks’ 2001s, and Craig is the club’s director of coaches.
Both players have represented Team USA in various international competitions.
York currently is competing in the Under-18 Men’s World Championships. In 2018, he helped Team USA claim silver in the U18 Men’s World Challenge, leading all defensemen in the tournament with six assists. He has helped the U.S. to gold at the Five Nations Cup, the Four Nations Cup and the World U17 Challenge.
Johnson teamed with another Michigan recruit and draft-eligible former Jr. Ducks player, Josh Groll, to help the U.S. win gold at the Five Nations Cup in the summer of 2017.