Flyers buy out final year of Atkinson’s contract

Cam Atkinson

      LAS VEGAS – No doubt professional hockey is played with emotion but when it comes down to the business side of the sport, heart can’t be part of the equation.

      Which helps explain why the Flyers decided to buy out the last year of veteran forward Cam Atkinson’s contract ($5.875 million) on Friday.
      The Flyers are somewhat short on salary cap space, so that no doubt figured into the decision.

      Three years ago, Atkinson was voted the Flyers’ Bobby Clarke Trophy winner as the team’s most valuable player as well as the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award (by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association).

      But two years ago, Atkinson had to undergo surgery on his tricep for a herniated disk and that forced him to miss the entire 2022-23 season. He returned for the 2023-24 season but clearly was not the same player.

      “When it comes to someone with the accomplishments and character of Cam, this was an exceptionally tough decision to make,” Flyers general manager Daniel Briere said.

      “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.”

      Atkinson, 34, now becomes an unrestricted free agent. He can sign with another NHL team starting on Monday, the first day of NHL free agency.

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

      Atkinson came to the Flyers in a trade with Columbus which sent Jake Voracek to the Blue Jackets.

      The Connecticut native departs the Flyers after three seasons, including two seasons of play where he recorded 36 goals and 42 assists for 78 points in 143 regular season games.

      Although the Flyers have most of their roster under contract for next season, they were looking to add extra space. The team had $5.238 million in dead space because of decisions made last offseason.

      The Flyers retained 50 percent of Kevin Hayes’ contract in a trade with the St. Louis Blues last season, and also have the remaining $1.66 million in dead space comes from buying out defenseman Tony DeAngelo, now with Carolina.

      Buying out Atkinson, means the Flyers are now projected to have $4.320 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly. This will cost the Flyers $2.358 million in cap space for 2024-25 while counting for $1.758 million against their cap in 2025-26 because of the two-year buyout length.

      For his entire NHL career, Atkinson has played in 770 games, producing 249 goals/480 points.

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About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.