Cam Atkinson Is Providing The Columbus Blue Jackets With The Offense They Sorely Need

By Ed Francis on February 15, 2021 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at United Center.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If the Columbus Blue Jackets have any hopes of making a fifth consecutive postseason, they'll need to rely on a few key names.

Cam Atkinson is certainly one of them.

Lucky for the Blue Jackets, he seems to have found whatever it was that he was missing.

Half of Atkinson's 12 points on the season have come in the last two games, both in Chicago against the Blackhawks. The first game, a wild win over the 'Hawks, saw Atkinson tally a point on four of Columbus' six goals – including three third period assists when the Blue Jackets trailed by two goals with just under 15:00 remaining in the game.

Atkinson followed his four point night with two more in the second game against Chicago, scoring one of the Blue Jackets two goals and assisting on the other. In all, Atkinson has recorded a point on five of the last six Columbus goals.

These efforts – and a penalty shot goal while the Jackets were short-handed in a Feb. 8 win against Carolina – gave Atkinson the NHL's First Star of the Week, the league announced Monday. 

Perhaps Atkinson's most impressive assist of the week came when Patrik Laine capitalized in the second game against Chicago on Saturday night. He plays the puck off the boards and slips it to Laine, who does the rest.

The Blue Jackets are in a proverbial "dog fight" for a playoff spot this season. Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Carolina seem almost a lock for the postseason. Florida is better than expected, and so too are the Blackhawks. If both of those teams finish ahead of Columbus, that's enough to keep Columbus home for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The defense has struggled, and the Blue Jackets will need to rely on their offense until the blue line can sort out their issues.

If he keeps this up, relying on Atkinson could help save the Jackets' season.