Cam Atkinson – Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Like Couturier, Cam Atkinson missed the entirety of the 2022-23 season. The 12-year NHL veteran had a season-ending neck surgery in December without appearing in any of the Flyers’ games prior to that.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, and Oskar Lindblom (2021) was the last Flyer to win the award. Now at the age of 34 and returning from a significant surgery, Atkinson definitely fits the criteria for this award.
The only season in which Atkinson played for the Flyers to this point was the 2021-22 season, where he sored 23 goals and 50 points in 73 games. To date, those 50 points are the fourth-best mark of his career. At his peak though, the Riverside, CT native was a 40-goal scorer. The Flyers can’t expect Atkinson to do that again at his advanced age following the time he’s missed, but they can expect him to be a leader for the younger guys.
Obviously, without having seen him play or practice recently, it is unclear exactly how much juice Atkinson has left at this point. The winger will turn 35 not long after the 2023-24 season ends and is under contract for the 2024-25 season as well. It’s worth noting that Atkinson has never produced below a 0.50 points-per-game rate in his entire NHL career – that’s a 40-point pace in 11 out of 11 years he’s played.
The Flyers would love Atkinson to continue to play and produce at that level, but they should not hold their breath on that. Still, it’s admirable that he’s healthy enough and determined to play again.