Another Major Blow for the Flyers: Cam Atkinson Won't Play this Season
Once again, Murphy’s Law is applying to the Philadelphia Flyers.
According to multiple sources with the team, forward Cam Atkinson will miss the remainder of the season, as he will undergo a non-orthopedic medical procedure.
Originally cleared by team doctors on November 28th, Atkinson had been practicing and skating with the team, including physical contact. While declining to discuss what had kept him out of action for the first two months of the season, Atkinson did say he was trying to build up his conditioning to get back to play. However, the team placed him on injured reserve Friday night.
Crossing Broad has agreed not to publish specifics prior to Atkinson or the Flyers announcing the details of this “upper body injury,” but it’s serious enough that it could be career-threatening to the 33-year-old veteran.
One Flyers source expressed that it was weird how the whole thing has played out, but completely understood why Atkinson and the doctors chose the path they did.
“We thought he would play,” the source said, matter-of-factly.
It has been a strange path with Atkinson, as the original diagnosis of an “upper body injury” was accompanied with the tag of “day-to-day.”
But days turned into weeks and weeks into months as the Flyers and Atkinson both stayed relatively mum on the subject, leading to all sorts of speculation.
Finally, Atkinson returned to practice at the end of November and spoke about sitting out, saying it was an “injury” he had never had before. However, he wasn’t shy at practice and had some real physical play, especially with teammate Rasmus Ristolainen.
Yeah, I’m thinking Cam Atkinson is cleared for contact. He likes to compete with Rasmus Ristolainen. pic.twitter.com/ZMVOeNv3lj
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) November 28, 2022
After this practice, Atkinson said he felt good and said he expected to be back soon.
“We’re obviously being a little precautious right now,” he said. “But I’m definitely going to be back sooner than later.”
Instead, less than three weeks later, Atkinson’s career is now on hold, and that’s without even playing in one game.
Atkinson was acquired by the Flyers prior to last season in a one-for-one swap with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jake Voracek, a trade of big-money contracts.
Atkinson, who is signed through the 2024-25 season with a cap hit of $5.875 million each year, was second on the team last season in goals, assists and points (23-27-50), while playing in 73 games.
Ironically, this season Voracek has also been shut down indefinitely, and his career is up in the air as well after suffering multiple concussions.
This is just the latest major setback for the Flyers who, since the summer, have lost Sean Couturier for several months, and probably the season, after two back surgeries, and never got Ryan Ellis back from his injury suffered at the beginning of last season, and likely won’t ever see him on the ice again.
Combine that with other lengthy injuries that they have endured this season – to players like James van Riemsdyk, who is now back and unsurprisingly on the trading block, according to the well-respected 32 Thoughts podcast, Wade Allison, who is slated to return soon, and Travis Konecny, who has been their best offensive player this season when healthy – as well as not having prospect Bobby Brink play yet after an offseason workout mishap. Then there’s the crazy situation involving Russian goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov last summer, and the recent departure of Lukas Sedlak, who was playing well for the Flyers but chose to leave the NHL because he was homesick for the Czech Republic; plus coach John Tortorella scratching veteran players this season like Ristolainen and Justin Braun and most recently Kevin Hayes for their lackluster play. It’s clear evidence that anything that can go wrong, will, for the Flyers.
It leaves one to wonder when the next major blow to this organization will occur.