Mar 27, 2011, 7:15 PM EDT
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.
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