After Boston College had their season ended on Friday night by Colorado College, eyes turned towards star winger Cam Atkinson to see if he would turn pro. As a sixth round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008 and coming off back-to-back seasons with 30+ goals at Boston College it was easy to see that the offensively hurting Jackets might want to get him out of the amateur ranks.
Today, the team signed Atkinson to a two-year entry level contract and will assign him to Springfield of the AHL. Atkinson, despite being a low round pick, became a clutch goal scorer on Chestnut Hill and helped lead the Eagles to a National Championship last season. Atkinson’s consistency and ability to score are his best qualities.
Last season he finished with 30 goals and 23 assists. This year in his junior season, he closed out the campaign with 31 goals and 21 assists. Atkinson is ready for the pro ranks and given Columbus’ issues scoring he might not be too far off from joining the big club if not for one particular aspect: Size.
Atkinson is 5’8″ 165 pounds and guys that size are rare in the NHL. Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello are two of the more notable small players in the league. If Atkinson can provide the same kind of offense in the pros that he did at BC, he’ll be a lock to play consistent minutes in Columbus. He doesn’t have to look far back in Boston College lore to see other smaller players to use as examples of how to get it done in the NHL as Brian Gionta and Nathan Gerbe have carved out great careers in the NHL in spite of their size. Columbus is hoping Atkinson can be a carbon copy of Gionta as they could use that sort of gritty goal scoring.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.