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Flyers Buy Out the Final Year of Cam Atkinson’s Contract

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they have bought out the final year of Cam Atkinson‘s contract, according to General Manager Daniel Brière.

With the buyout window having opened yesterday, there was plenty of chatter around whether or not the Flyers would exercise one on the veteran forward. After missing the entire 2021-22 season, Atkinson made his return ahead of the 2023-24 campaign but struggled mightily throughout. Although he would have preferred to remain in Philadelphia, it was best for both sides to find greener pastures with the Flyers heading into a different direction.

Atkinson came over to Philadelphia on Day 2 of the NHL Draft in 2021 in exchange for Jakub Voráček. The Flyers went through a lot of change that summer as Chuck Fletcher wanted to rid the locker room of negativity – which was pointed towards players who had a problem with then-head coach Alain Vigneault.

Atkinson had spent his first 10 seasons in Columbus but struggled in his last 2 seasons, which led to his eventual yet emotional departure. He had accumulated just 27 goals and 60 points in 100 games after potting 100 goals and 177 points in his previous 227 games between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Overall, he scored 213 goals and 402 points in 627 games for the Blue Jackets, including a 41-goal season in 2018-19. His shoot-first mentality, energy, and 200-foot game were driving factors in why the Flyers were so keen on his services.

He was entering his 4th season of a 7-year contract that was worth $41.125 million, or a cap hit of $5.875 million per season. In his first season with the Flyers, he clicked almost instantly with Claude Giroux and finished the year with 23 goals and 50 points in 73 games before suffering a season-ending injury in a game against Washington near the end of the year.

There was always a belief that Atkinson was going to be good to return for the 2022-23 season. He was present during training camp but suffered an injury at the tail end of September that kept him sidelined for the first two months of the season. He was then cleared by team doctors at the end of November and had regularly spent time with the team practicing and skating, including physical contact but both player and team declined to dive into the specifics of the injury.

Unfortunately, he suffered a setback which ultimately ruled him out for the rest of the season in mid-December. It was later revealed that he would undergo surgery on his neck/upper-arm area.

He came back with a bang in 2023-24, scoring 6 goals and 9 points in his first 10 games but then went through a nasty slump where he scored just 2 goals and 9 assists in his next 31 games, which included a 26-game goal drought. Upon scoring 2 goals to break his slump against the Winnipeg Jets, Atkinson went on a 6-game streak with 5 goals and 10 points but lost his offensive ways to end the year. He went without a point in his final 23 games as a Flyer, was a minus-9 in that stretch, and averaged just 13:17 of ice time.

Injuries cost Atkinson a great opportunity in Philadelphia as he finished his short tenure with 36 goals and 78 points in 143 games across 2 seasons. During his 2021-22 season, Atkinson won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s most valuable player as well as the Yanick Dupré Memorial Class Guy Award. He was class personified, his teammates loved him, the coaching staff had nothing but great things to say, and we wish him nothing but the best on his future endeavours.

Brière’ statement regarding Atkinson’s buyout:

“When it comes to someone with the accomplishments and character of Cam, this was an exceptionally tough decision to make.

“Throughout his time with the Flyers, Cam has displayed an incredible work ethic and level of professionalism that is a true credit to him as a player and person. I’ve witnessed firsthand the amount of effort, dedication, and perseverance he went through during an incredibly tough rehabilitation process in order to come back and be a leader for our team on and off the ice.

“I would like to thank Cam for all he has put into raising the standard of our team. Cam will always have a place in the Flyers organization, and we wish all the success for him and his family in the future.”

What this means for the Flyers is that they save $3.5 million of his original cap hit for the 2024-25 season but will be on the hook for $1.758 million next season. The club didn’t have a lot of money to play with to start the offseason but with the buyout in the books, they are projected to currently have $4.3 million as they look to bring back RFAs in Bobby Brink and Egor Zamula, among others.

For the 2025-26 season, their projected cap space went from about $35 million to $33.7 million dollars but Ryan Johansen, Cal Petersen, and the Tony DeAngelo buyout will be off the books.

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