Sure, something needed to change in the team’s top-six, as Alain Vigneault personally pointed out that you can’t just keep bringing back the same team and expect different results year after year, but to trade Voracek, one of the better playmaking wings in the NHL, for a right-shot sharpshooter who hadn’t turned in a 40 point season since 2018-19.
Would a change of scenery be enough to get Atkinson back on track, or are his days of being a 20 goal scorer long since past?
While the latter could still be true, Cam Atkinson certainly looked like his old self in his first of many games with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Cam Atkinson brings some pop to the Philadelphia Flyers wings.
Cam Atkinson spent 17:39 on ice in his debut for the Philadelphia Flyers.
He played on a line alongside the team’s best shooter, Joel Farabee, and his long-time friend/ex-Blue Jackets teammate Derick Brassard, played an average of 0:38 in each of his 28 shifts, and got some play on both power play and short-handed situations.
The results? Atkinson recorded one goal on four shots off of a dish from Farabee and helped to get the Flyers back into a game that was rapidly getting away from them.
Now granted, Atkinson wasn’t perfect. It took him four shots to land one in the net, he didn’t assist on Farabee’s goal, and still looked a bit shaky on the defensive end of the ice, but all in all, not a particularly bad showing for the team’s premier forward addition from a jam-packed summer.
And the best part? Atkinson is just going to get more and more comfortable with each passing game.
Once “Hollywood” Hayes returns to the ice in two-ish weeks, the Flyers’ second line will have a big-bodied distributor to pair up with their elite shooting wings at both ends of the court and bring together the sort three-pronged offensive attack that will look pretty darn good, especially when paired up with defensemen like Ryan Ellis, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, and yes, even Rasmus Ristolainen once he returns to the ice.
Boy oh boy, once Hayes is back to full strength, the Philadelphia Flyers’ top-six is looking pretty darn bulletproof, with pretty good depth thanks to players like Brassard, Scotty Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, and James van Riemsdyk. Once the playoffs roll around, there are some very interesting combinations to be had; assuming the team actually makes the playoffs, of course.
Is the sample size relatively small? Sure, but between you and me, I think Cam Atkinson is going to be a very welcomed addition to the Orange and Black this season. He’s the sort of fearless right-shot shooter the team hasn’t employed in some time and already looks like a natural on the same line as Joel Farabee. While it’s undoubtedly weird not having Jakub Voracek and his orange beard around for the first time in a decade, Atkinson looks like just what the doctor ordered to get the Philadelphia Flyers’ offense rolling.