Cam Atkinson tied a Columbus Blue Jackets franchise record in 2018-19, scoring 41 regular-season goals (a mark held by Rick Nash). So, for what it's worth–and it's worth a lot–the team's best goal scorer will be back on the top line once again this October.
Despite Atkinson's innate ability to find the back of the net, there were still two areas of his game that left something to be desired a year ago: scoring goals on the power play and in 3-on-3 overtime.
As illustrated above, Atkinson recorded career highs in goals during both the power play and overtime in the 2016-17 season, which occurred prior to the arrival of Artemi Panarin. Now, eight power play goals is nothing to shake a stick at, but Atkinson figures to have the puck far more on the power play this season.
There were 41 NHL players with nine or more power play goals in 2018-19, making Atkinson's eight power-play tallies surprisingly low. When considering the Blue Jackets scored only 38 power play goals last season (28th in the NHL), it's fair to say they will need more from Atkinson this time around. And his aforementioned eight goals weren't due to lack of ice time; Atkinson averaged 2:41 of power play per game, second only to Panarin's 2:48.
When it comes to overtime, no player in the league scored more than four goals in 3-on-3 last season. Atkinson scored five OT goals in 2016-17, a total that would have put him atop the league in 2018-19. However, with Panarin in the fold, Atkinson didn't have the scoring success he once did in the extra session. The odds favor Atkinson's OT production to rebound in the 2019-20 campaign.
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