Take Cam Atkinson’s name off the trade deadline target list.
On Monday, the Jackets announced they’ve signed Aktinson to a three-year, $10.5 million contract extension, one that carries a $3.5M average annual cap hit.
Atkinson, 25, has been a solid contributor in Columbus over the last two seasons. He was a pending RFA — carrying a $1.15 million cap hit — and looked to be in line for a raise; Atkinson scored a career-high 21 goals and 40 points last year and is averaging over 17 minutes a night this season (another career-high).
The new salary breakdown, per ESPN:
Atkinson deal year by year, $2.5 M, $3.5 M, $4.5 M
In 58 games this year, Atkinson has 13 goals and 25 points. This new deal will keep him in Columbus through the 2018 season, making him a long-term guy along with the likes of David Clarkson, Scott Hartnell, Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky, Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson.
Video: Jackets’ Johansen with an open ice hit on Crosby
Playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs was a boyhood dream for David Clarkson, but it quickly became a nightmare. It’s not too surprising that he’s glad to get a (relatively) clean slate with the Columbus Blue Jackets, then.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button,” Clarkson said. “The way they want to play the game? … that’s my style of game.”
At their best, the Blue Jackets can be a relentless opponent, which is indeed the kind of mindset Clarkson deployed during his greatest moments in his stint with the New Jersey Devils. That power forward style was largely inhibited in Toronto, and the fault was largely his own (even if injuries and suspensions didn’t exactly make things easier).
PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban caught up with Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who backed up the notion that things just didn’t seem to click for the 30-year-old in Toronto.
“Sometimes players, for whatever reason, don’t fit in a certain city or certain organization,” Nonis said. “I believe in David, I think he’s going to go there and play well. I think he’s going to go in there and fit in with that group and have the impact there that we had hoped he would have here, but we were in a situation where it wasn’t working out as well as we had hoped or as he had hoped.”
He may already enjoy a fairly prominent role if Brandon Dubinsky’s injury is significant. Either way, it’s the kind of deal that makes financial sense for both teams … and might just open the door for Clarkson’s redemption.
As far as when that turnaround may begin, it sounds like that’s a work in progress at the moment.
New #CBJ F David Clarkson just finished tucking his two young kids into bed. Waiting by the phone for visa clearance to head to Columbus.