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A Soft Landing for Mike York

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Mike York has been one of my favourite players ever since coming over to Edmonton in the Tom Poti trade. The first NHL game I attended he was the best player for the Oilers, buzzing up and down the ice all night. As I recall, he scored a goal that would have tied the game in the late second/early third, which the referee waved off (although replays after the game showed the puck crossing the line). Vancouver scored an empty-netter, and that ended the evening for me.

Anyways, York hasn't been the player he was in Edmonton since getting dealt in the summer of 2005 for Michael Peca. I wasn't a fan of the deal, and I was sure I was right all season long as Peca didn't score ended up on the 4th line, and complained publicly about his ice-time. Of course, once the playoffs rolled around, things went a little differently.

York has averaged 17 points a year the last two seasons, and last year was outscored badly against lousy competition 5-on-5. Despite this, word came today that he has signed a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It isn't much of a risk for Columbus, paying him 750K in the majors and 100K in the minors, and if he can rebound it could be quite the bargain.

It's also likely to be his last chance to get his NHL career back on track. I hope he makes the most of it.

Update: James Mirtle makes an interesting observation about this signing: Mike York had already signed a contract in Russia (thanks to commenter Kish for pointing this out). If so, York could be added to the list of players the IIHF has suspended from international competition. I was already under the opinion that what the IIHF has to say about this feud is pretty close to meaningless; for a player like York who needs to have a huge recovery this season to have any hope of making the U.S. World Championship team, it means even less.