Like Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson missed the entirety of the 2022-23 season, and is now much older than he was in the last game he played in.
For Cam Atkinson, the stakes in the 2023-24 season are pretty cut and dried: he will be 36 when his current contract expires, and this might be his last shot at playing in the NHL as a regular. Atkinson had 50 points in his only season as a Flyer thus far, but given his age and $5.875 million cap hit for another two years, Daniel Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers might not feel inclined to keep him beyond this season. Unless Atkinson can show the juice he had pre-neck surgery, his NHL career could be coming to a close sooner than later.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ roster looks wildly different compared to how it did in Atkinson’s last full game with the team. Martin Jones, James van Riemsdyk, Patrick Brown, Kevin Connauton, Kevin Hayes, Ivan Provorov, Oskar Lindblom, Nate Thompson, and Hayden Hodgson have all retired or moved on to other teams. It will be a huge adjustment for Atkinson to play with new teammates whilst having to take on his normal workload after a neck surgery.
If Cam Atkinson is unable to return to form, it could be curtains on his Philadelphia Flyers career and his hockey career.