The Philadelphia Flyers will buy out Cam Atkinson

Arizona Coyotes v Philadelphia Flyers
Arizona Coyotes v Philadelphia Flyers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Just hours before the NHL draft, Philadelphia Flyers' general manager Daniel Briere finally struck. No, it's not one of the many rumored trades that have been floating around recently.

Instead, the Flyers have bought out one of their players. Cam Atkinson's time in Philadelphia is over.

The move isn't totally surprising. Atkinson's name has been hanging out there for a while as his contract has become one of several albatrosses around Briere's neck. With just one year left on his contract, the buyout makes sense.

The Flyers will be responsible for a $2.358 million cap hit this year. Next year, he'll cost the team $1.758 million. All told, this will save the Flyers just under $1.58 million this year. When you are as cash-strapped as the Flyers are right now, every penny helps.

Atkinson came over to the Flyers three years ago from Columbus in exchange for Jakub Voracek. It was viewed as a change of scenery for both players and both teams. Initially, the move was heralded as a pretty even trade for both clubs.

Voracek would lead his new team in points that season while Atkinson tallied 23 goals with 27 assists in his first year.

Then some tough luck struck both players. Voracek got a concussion that he never came back from in his second season in Columbus. Atkinson received a neck injury in training camp that never healed and he missed all of the 2022-23 season.

This past year, everyone was excited to see Atkinson finally reunited with head coach John Tortorella, his former head coach in Columbus who helped make Atkinson a star.

After a quick start to the season, Atkinson lost his scoring touch, got benched, and played fewer and fewer minutes. He was dropped from a top-six forward to a bottom-line role. The magic was gone.

A few weeks ago, there were rumors that the San Jose Sharks were sniffing around for his services. They need to absorb some cap space, so a trade to San Jose seemed to make sense.

Maybe his no-trade clause prevented a move out to the West Coast. After all, the Sharks are not expected to be a contender this year.

Maybe the Sharks offered Briere the "Chuck Fletcher Ghost Bear Special" where we traded Cam to the Sharks for nothing. Who knows for sure? All we know is that trade never went down.

For now, Atkinson is a free agent for the first time in his career. We all hope that he can recapture his former self somewhere else. He was always a good guy in the clubhouse. Injuries aren't fun, especially when they hamper a good player's career. Maybe he can find success again. We wish him the best.

As for the Flyers, this may not be the final move Briere makes tonight. With the Draft looming, stay tuned to see what else transpires. If there is truth to any of the rumors, it sounds like Briere is hoping to have a busy night.