Cam Atkinson is certainly respected by the Columbus Blue Jackets fan base, however it’s time for his respect to be league wide.
Statistically, Cam Atkinson has been better than Artemi Panarin for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Yes they have the same amount of points, but Atkinson has nearly three times as many goals and without him Panarin wouldn’t have half of his assists.
Despite this, the national media continues to praise Panarin albeit mainly because he’s a pending unrestricted free agent. Atkinson is tied for seventh in the NHL in goals, yet he doesn’t get as much coverage as many of the players below him.
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Some players behind him in goals include, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel and many others. For a couple of those players it can be argued that they have more points as a whole, but in Tavares’ case he has a stacked team around him so even without any skillful play he could easily get an assist.
Atkinson’s play goes beyond his goals though, he’s also a phenomenal playmaker as seen in overtime against Philadelphia. He’s currently tied for 30th in the league in points, ahead of former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall.
Atkinson is a top winger in the NHL and undoubtedly a top ten right wing in the league. He hasn’t had an outstanding career to this point, but at 29 years of age he’s finally showing what he can do and it’s time for the rest of the league to take notice.
Many Blue Jackets fans thought they saw the best of Atkinson when he hit 35 goals a few seasons ago, however he’s proving that he has more talent than anyone knew. It remains to be seen if this season is even the best that Atkinson has to offer. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how great he can actually be.