Atkinson Brought the “Whiz Wit” to the Flyers

Flyers' Cam Atkinson
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 20: Philadelphia Flyers Right Wing Cam Atkinson (89) skates with the puck during the first period of a National Hockey League game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers on October 20, 2021, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Where were you on July 24, 2021?

Depending on the time, I was drinking a cold beverage out of a Yeti tumbler on the Ocean City beach with my fiancée or walking the boardwalk. Living life without a care in the world, hardly even thinking about hockey. Everyone was watching the delayed summer Olympics, screaming at the Philadelphia Phillies to string together wins, prepping for the upcoming Philadelphia Eagles season, or any combination of any of those things. Naturally, the Philadelphia Flyers were buried deep in the minds of everyone in the Delaware Valley.

Enter; Chuck Fletcher. He was hard at work on a summer Saturday, toiling away in the July heat doing everything in his power to make his hockey team better. After all, he had recently traded for Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen while trading away Nolan Patrick, Philippe Myers, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, and draft picks.

More work needed to be done to overhaul the roster. Fletcher pulled an ace out of his sleeve and sent Jakub Voracek to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Cam Atkinson in a one-for-one trade.

Who would have thought the third trade of the offseason would have been the most impactful?

Atkinson Is Gold

Atkinson has only been a Flyer for 54 games and has quickly become a fan favorite on a bad hockey team. Maybe it’s who he replaced on the team, maybe it’s his style of play, but no matter how you cut it Atkinson is one of the lone bright spots so far this season.

We’re almost two-thirds of the way through the season and the returns on the trade would be shocking to some. Truth be told, my gut reaction is Philadelphia got the better of the trade by a country mile, then I looked at the stats. Atkinson has 39 points (18G, 21A.) He’s a +5, while registering 161 shots on net. Voracek scored 40pts (2G, 38A.) He’s a -4 while registering 98 shots on net.

It’s not close. Even though Voracek is outscoring Atkinson, Fletcher made the right trade. Three more years with a shoot-first mentality RW who plays in all situations with the highest of motors and integrates himself in the city versus a guy who passed the puck too often on an expiring contract. I like Voracek, don’t get it twisted. He’s one of the best Flyers of my lifetime, but it was just time to make a change and Fletcher knocked it out of the park.

I mean, look at this:

Some might call it pandering, but I love it.

Atkinson has been a delight to watch in Philadelphia. Between his style of play, his leadership on and off the ice, and his embracing of the city and what it means to be a Flyer, it’s clear that Fletcher absolutely won the trade. I just wish he Atkinson was a Flyer a few years earlier.

(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)