Cameron Thomas “Cam” Atkinson (born June 5th, 1989) is an American ice hockey player who has played his entire professional career in the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise. The American right winger has played two times in NHL All-Star match. Atkinson is known to be a solid goal scorer and penalty killing expert. He is a hard-working player with smooth hands, who has become an important piece of the Blue Jackets team.
Minor and junior career
In his school days, Atkinson played in Avon Old Frams school teams. Avon Old Frams is known to be a starting point for several NHL players. Atkinson was picked by Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected in the sixth round, being 151st overall pick in the draft. However, Atkinson attended in Boston College, where he played for Boston College Eagles. He showed signs of his goal scoring skills already in NCAA games and was granted several awards during years 2010 and 2011.
In early 2011, Atkinson signed a two-year contract with the Blue Jackets and joined the Springfield Falcons of AHL league. He played five AHL regular season games in Falcons, scoring five points. For the next season, Atkinson made it to the Blue Jackets roster and played 27 regular season games in NHL. However, for most of the season, he spent with the Falcons. For season 2012-13, Atkinson played 35 NHL games and 33 AHL games.
Atkinson played his first full NHL season in 2013-14 and made it to the top six of Blue Jackets forwards. He played 79 regular season games, scoring 40 points in the process. Moreover, Blue Jackets made it to post-season and Atkinson had his first play-off games after the regular season. However, Blue Jackets was eliminated by Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
After two 40-point seasons, Atkinson continued to improve his scoring and he broke the 50-point mark in season 2015-16, scoring 53 points. His goal scoring skills made him popular among the Blue Jackets fans. Next season, Atkinson scored 35 goals and 62 points, which was his new personal record. Blue Jackets played a good season, making it to the play-offs.
Atkinson signed a seven-year contract extension with the Blue Jackets in 2017. He has said that he wants to finish his career in Columbus. In season 2017-18, Atkinson had a foot injury but managed to play 65 regular season games. Result-wise, 2018-19 was his best season so far and his 41 goals earned him another NHL All-Star game.
Atkinson has represented US national team two times in World Championship tournament. In 2012, USA finished seventh, but in 2018 they finished third and grabbed the bronze medal. Atkinson has played 18 international games and scored 14 points.
Other interesting stuff
Atkinson is smaller than average forwards in professional hockey. His height is 5 ft 8 inches. His development from sixth round pick to an NHL star is a perfect example of hard work and dedication. Blue Jackets is still a young organization and Atkinson hopes to win the Stanley Cup with the team one day.