“Cam Atkinson is having a career year” is something that is being stated more and more by the Columbus Blue Jackets fan base, media, and coaching staff alike in the city of Columbus. But why is no one outside of the Blue Jackets organization taking about the speedy forward?
Cam Atkinson Having A Career Year
The 26-year-old Atkinson scored another goal Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Blue Jackets 3-2 loss, which stretched his scoring streak to five goals in five games. This isn’t something that has just started recently, as Atkinson has been one of the most consistent performers of the season for the Jackets, and one of the most valuable players to the organization due to it.
Atkinson, by almost every statistical category, is having the best season of his five-year NHL career with his highest tally in goals, assists, and shorthanded goals this year. He is sitting on 24 goals, which sees him tied with Boone Jenner and Brandon Saad for team lead, and 20 assists on the season, which is good for sixth on the team as well. With all due respect to the short, speedy forward, almost no one saw him being the point leader for the Blue Jackets at this point in the season, but it will come as no surprise to the fans who play close attention to the organization.
Atkinson is a prime example of what the organization, and head coach John Tortorella, are looking for in their new playing style that has seen them start to compete against some of the best teams in the league. He is a fast, hard skater that can beat just about anyone in the league and has shown how hard of a worker and how strong he is, despite his modest size. On top of all this, another thing that can be seen on the stat sheet is that he is the only Blue Jacket with a shorthanded goal this season, with two to his name. This number could easily be higher, as his breakaways have become an almost nightly occurrence.
Another important part of his game is the apparent amount of discipline he carries with him, as he only has 18 penalty minutes on the year. Along with the fact that he’s not afraid to fight for the puck and get stuck into a hard hit, when possible, it shows his apparent level of discipline, something the Blue Jackets organization has stated as one of the most important points of emphasis moving forward. This is just one of many obvious reasons that he should be at the center of the organization while transitioning to what they hope to be: A playoff team.
Despite all of the statistics he’s put up this season, and the last two before this as well, it’s his attitude that carries a massive weight when speaking about Atkinson becoming a leader. He is a hard worker, a great performer, and an obviously humble human being, three qualities that cannot be taken lightly when trying to build the organization “brick by brick”. He is a perfect example of what Columbus wants from their players on the ice, as well as off the ice, and will play a pivotal role for the Blue Jackets when moving into the future. But the question stands to be answered, will they keep him through the offseason?
Despite the fact that he is a relatively “unknown” commodity, playing for one of the less successful organizations in the league, there has been interest coming from other clubs here and there before the trade deadline passed this year. This interest will continue into the offseason as teams that were bounced from the playoffs early, or barely missed them, will be looking to add a quality player who can bring speed and talent to their top six forwards. This is something that should be closely monitored in the Buckeye State, as Atkinson is a valuable part of the franchise that the Jackets cannot afford to lose. With Atkinson, or as the fans affectionately refer to him as “Camsanity,” having a career year one can only wonder, will Columbus stay true and keep “Camsanity” in a Blue Jackets sweater? Columbus fans can only hope that they have the sense to do so.