Cam Atkinson
Cam Atkinson
30-Year-Old Right WingRW
Columbus Blue Jackets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The 30-year-old joined the ranks of the elite snipers last year, potting a career-high 41 goals that tied him for sixth in the NHL while scoring a career-high 69 points as well. Atkinson's instincts for finding open ice and the quick trigger on his shot have allowed him to thrive despite a lack of size, but he'll be hard-pressed to match last year's production, and even a 30-goal campaign might be asking a lot following the departure of Artemi Panarin. Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois still have good chemistry, but unless the young center takes a huge step forward, the Blue Jackets will lack an elite, dynamic offense weapon who can draw defensive attention and create space for players like Atkinson. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a seven-year, $40.25 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets in November of 2017.
Generates assist
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
November 9, 2019
Atkinson delivered an assist and two shots on goal in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Avalanche.
Atkinson's helper came on a Zach Werenski goal in the final minute of the first period. The winger has apples in consecutive games, giving him nine points in 17 appearances overall. Atkinson has added 64 shots on goal, scoring at just a 4.7 percent rate. He's a career 11.5 percent shooter, so a goal-scoring binge could be coming in the near future.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After signing a big contract extension in November, Atkinson had a sluggish beginning to his 2017-18 season as he battled through lower-body injuries, including a broken foot that cost him 11 games. He was one of Columbus' best players down the stretch, though, scoring 14 goals and 25 points in his final 20 games. The end result was his fifth straight campaign with at least 20 goals, 40 points and 200 shots -- an impressive run for the undersized winger. His offensive instincts remain outstanding, and his ability to find open space on the ice complements the quick trigger on his shot, making him a power-play stalwart for the Jackets. If he can stay healthy, the 29-year-old should be able to take a run at 30 goals and 60 points again.
The undersized sniper enjoyed a career year in 2016-17, seeing his goal total and average ice time improve for a third straight season. Much of Atkinson’s improvement came with the man advantage -- he more than doubled his power-play scoring from the previous campaign as he worked the half-boards to great effect in the Blue Jackets’ 1-3-1 system. His 35 goals and 62 points probably represent his ceiling, however, and with Artemi Panarin joining the club, Atkinson could find himself squeezed off the first power-play unit. He still possesses a knack for finding open space and a quick trigger on his shot, but a return to his 2015-16 level of production wouldn't be a surprise.
Atkinson put together the best season of his career in 2015-2016, tying for the team lead in points with 53 while recording his third straight 20-plus-goal campaign. While the 27-year-old doesn't have the skill set or size to be an elite sniper, he's been amazing consistent since becoming a full-time player for the Jackets, carving out a regular spot in their top six and on the power play. As the club's next wave of prospects breaks into the NHL, he could slip down the depth chart or get dealt, but at least for next season, he appears to be secure in his role.
After consecutive 40-point seasons, Atkinson has proven himself to be a reliable NHL winger, but it's questionable whether he'll reach the star-quality upside he flashed at Boston College and in the AHL. He's undersized at 5-foot-8, but Atkinson is strong for his size and hard on the puck, reminiscent in a way of a lower-end version of the Rangers' Mats Zuccarello. He's entering his age-26 season, so the time to make a big leap forward offensively is now, but it's concerning that Atkinson merely replicated the prior season's production despite seeing a significant increase in average ice time. Still, if Atkinson's mates on the Jackets' second line, Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky, can stay healthy, they've got a chance to provide the sort of fearsome scoring depth that can propel Columbus back into the playoffs.
Atkinson finally put things together last season, scoring 21 goals and 40 points in 79 games while filling a variety of roles on the wing for the Blue Jackets. The addition of Scott Hartnell could make it tough for Atkinson to see top-six ice time this season though, and while a third-line placement on an improving roster isn't the worst fate for a young winger, it will limit his fantasy ceiling. Don't expect him to take things to another level unless injuries ahead of him open up some prime minutes for him.
The undersized sparkplug Atkinson battled ankle injuries most of the season and managed just nine goals and 18 points in 35 NHL games, although his surprising plus-9 rating led all Blue Jackets forwards and his AHL production (17 goals and 38 points in 33 games) was outstanding. When he's healthy he's capable of supplying some big goals, but the late-season addition of Marian Gaborik and the Nathan Horton signing make things very crowded on the wings in Columbus and Atkinson could find it tough to keep hold of a top-six placement. If he does stay on a scoring line though, don't underestimate his fantasy potential.
The young winger had a mostly successful first full season in the pros, lighting the lamp 29 times in 51 AHL games while posting a more modest but still solid 7-7-14 line in 27 games with Columbus. He came on towards the end of the season, scoring 10 of his points in the final six games, including an eye-popping five goals in the final two; he will be given a long look as a potential top-six forward on a Rick Nash-less Blue Jackets' roster that is starving for snipers. He still has yet to prove that he can make a consistent impact in the NHL given his tiny stature, but if he can find space on the ice, Atkinson has the skill to break through to the 20-goal level as a sophomore.
Even in the modern NHL, players with Atkinson's small stature have trouble making an impact. Still, this particular waterbug is coming off consecutive 30-goal seasons to finish his career at Boston College and a point-a-game pace in his first, brief exposure to the pros at the AHL level. He heads into camp with a real shot at winning a third or fourth line role for the Blue Jackets, but even if he breaks camp with Columbus don't expect a fantasy-worthy output.
More Fantasy News
Supplies power-play helper
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
November 8, 2019
Atkinson recorded a power-play assist and three shots on goal in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Coyotes.
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Pots OT winner
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
October 25, 2019
Atkinson scored the game-winner in Thursday's 4-3 overtime victory over the Hurricanes.
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Lights lamp in another opener
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
October 4, 2019
Atkinson scored a power-play goal in Friday's 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets.
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Leads charge in Game 3
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
April 14, 2019
Atkinson scored an empty-net goal and added an assist in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Lightning in Game 3 of their first-round series.
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Reaches 40 goals
RWColumbus Blue Jackets
March 30, 2019
Atkinson scored a pair of goals, including an empty-netter, in a 5-2 victory against the Predators on Saturday.
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