Cam Atkinson is one of my favorite players. I still believe he might be a 30 goal scorer. Cam, if you're out there, I appreciate you and what you've done in Columbus. At the same time, it feels appropriate for me to be the one to write this - I don't hold a single bit of ill-will towards Atkinson or his play for the Blue Jackets.
If he does one day score 30 goals in a season, I don't think it will be with Columbus.
I hate the idea of trading him, because he's exactly the type of player this team needs. The thing is, the team also needs to put players like Atkinson in a position to succeed, not in whatever hole needs filled.
Something isn't working. As long as Todd Richards is coaching here, his usage of a player like Atkinson isn't going to change on a permanent basis. The team isn't playing well with him (overall), so it's not exactly a stretch to say they'll continue to get by without him.
Let him go somewhere and hopefully get a decent return. Just hope he doesn't put up 30 goals next season, because that's ultimately going to reflect back on Jarmo and could be the turning point in his tenure.
No one wants to see this team blow it up, and I don't believe they will. There are a lot of good players on this roster. But management can't make ticky-tacky moves and expect a complete 180 based on better luck. Yes, health will hopefully be on their side next season. What if it's not? Does Jordan Leopold for a 5th round pick help? Does Cody Goloubef for a fourth liner help? No, I don't think so.
Maybe they'll stockpile picks, then pull the ol' New York Islanders offer every draft pick for first overall strategy, but I doubt it.
There needs to be at least one "significant" move, even if it means getting rid of a player like Atkinson or Calvert (a real shame, if you ask me). If they're not playing the system, get rid of them. If you don't have faith in the system to the point of moving a player who doesn't fit, why will the players have faith in it? (Whether the system works is an argument for another day.)
Atkinson represents the best value of someone who's not a "core" player or a top prospect. I'm afraid that, more than anything, is why he finds himself in no man's land.
The Blue Jackets need to make some changes. That much is clear. What's sadly becoming clearer and clearer each day is that the change needs to start with #13.