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Flyers, Cam Atkinson Could Go Separate Ways in Offseason

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Cam Atkinson ended his second season with the Flyers on a 23-game pointless streak. (Photo: AP)

It certainly seems like the Philadelphia Flyers and veteran forward Cam Atkinson are trending towards going their separate ways this offseason.

Atkinson, 34, ended the season on a 23-game pointless streak and was a healthy scratch for 12 games. In the Flyers’ final three games of the season, Atkinson failed to get more than nine minutes of ice time, which only underscores the team’s lack of confidence in him to produce or otherwise help the team in any way.

“It’s unlike any situation I’ve ever been in in my career,” Atkinson said of his season with the Flyers. “I have one more year left on my contract. I know the player I am. I’ll never lose sight in who I am and what has made me the player I am today, and what’s gotten me to this level.

“I still feel like I have a lot of juice left in the tank, for the right situation.”

After missing all of the 2022-23 season with a neck injury, Atkinson returned to the Flyers this season and enjoyed a strong run of form in the first two months of his comeback campaign. And then, apart from a few games in January, the 34-year-old fell off a cliff.

Atkinson will turn 35 before opening night next season, and neither John Tortorella nor Danny Briere were prepared to commit to Atkinson’s return, stating that they didn’t want to judge the player solely on this past season. What we can judge, though, is that Atkinson has scored at a 10% clip or better just once since 2018-19 – his debut season with the Flyers in 2021-22.

That season was also the only one since 2018-19 where he scored 20 or more goals. Simply put, Atkinson was hitting the wall with Columbus even before he joined the Flyers, and after a year off at his advanced age, it’s highly unlikely he can find another gear to help a team trying to get younger and better.

“Torts and I, like I said, we’re going to agree to disagree on a lot of things. It is what it is at this point,” Atkinson added.

The player looked and sounded miserable at his exit interview, and it’s hard to fault him after the season ended the way it did. Atkinson doesn’t appear willing to spend another season in mostly a reserve role, and Tortorella and Briere did not use their opportunities to say he would definitely be back.

When the offseason rolls around, Atkinson could quickly find himself becoming a buyout candidate.

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