The Columbus Blue Jackets had as much success as they did last year because they were able to keep the puck out of their own net. With a solid blue line and fantastic goaltending, they were able to hang around in the playoff race until the end of the regular season.
This year, they’ll be looking to make a shift to more of an offensive team. After acquiring Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline, and signing Nathan Horton in free agency, it’s clear that this is a team set on improving their offensive attack.
One player that was already around, but could look to make a bigger impact for the upcoming season is forward Cam Atkinson. Atkinson was brought back on a two-year contract, and has an opportunity to prove himself valuable on that short-term deal.
Atkinson was able to build off of his rookie season of 2011-12, which saw him appear in just 27 games. But in 35 games during the 2013 season, he was able to post a solid 18 points, with an even split between goals and assists. He missed some time during the season due to a lower body injury.
Coming into the new season, Atkinson will be counted on to make an increased impact on offense. He certainly has the skill set to do it. He’s definitely undersized, but is fearless and possesses enough speed to make him a tough matchup.
Atkinson will likely be given the opportunity to succeed in an increased role for the Blue Jackets this upcoming season. He’ll log time on the power play, and should be a contributor there, as well as at even strength. He won’t be a point-per-game player, but should be able to find the back of the net with some regularity for Columbus in 2013-14.