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Flyers to buy out Cam Atkinson's final season of contract

The Flyers' veteran winger had one more year left on his deal at a $5.875 million cap hit

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On the first day of the 2024 NHL draft, the Flyers made a final decision on Cam Atkinson.

The club will buy out the remainder of the veteran winger's contract, making Atkinson an unrestricted free agent.

The 35-year-old was set to be in the last year of a seven-year, $41.125 million deal ($5.875 million cap hit) that he originally signed with the Blue Jackets.

Per, with the buyout, Atkinson's cap hit will be $2.358 million in 2024-25 and $1.758 million the following season. So for 2024-25, the Flyers will save $3.517 million on his original cap hit.

Atkinson's role diminished down the stretch in 2023-24 and he sounded open to a change of scenery at his exit interview.

"I know the player I am and I'll never lose sight in how I am and what has made me the player I am today and what has gotten me to this level," Atkinson said in April after the season. "I still feel like I have a lot of juice left in the tank for the right situation."

The Flyers had to make a call on Atkinson before Monday. Sunday marks the final day clubs can buy out a player.

Flyers general manager Danny Briere released the following statement Friday:

"When it comes to someone with the accomplishments and character of Cam, this was an exceptionally tough decision to make.

"Throughout his time with the Flyers, Cam has displayed an incredible work ethic and level of professionalism that is a true credit to him as a player and person. I've witnessed firsthand the amount of effort, dedication, and perseverance he went through during an incredibly tough rehabilitation process in order to come back and be a leader for our team on and off the ice.

"I would like to thank Cam for all he has put into raising the standard of our team. Cam will always have a place in the Flyers organization, and we wish all the success for him and his family in the future."

More: Trade candidates? How many picks? Five Flyers things to know for the 2024 NHL draft

Over his three years in Philadelphia, Atkinson was a real pro and an accountable player. He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP in his first season. But after missing all of the 2022-23 campaign because of a neck injury that required surgery, his production and minutes dipped in what turned out to be his final season with the Flyers.

He finished the year with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) and a minus-22 rating in 70 games. A player with 770 career NHL games and a 41-goal season on his résumé, Atkinson dealt with healthy scratches and played only 10:50 minutes per game in his last 13 games. In the Flyers' meaningful regular-season finale, a 2-1 loss to the Capitals, Atkinson was on the ice for only 4:41 minutes as John Tortorella shortened the bench considerably.

The Flyers have a lot of youth at Atkinson's right wing position, recently fueled by the impending arrival of top prospect Matvei Michkov. They also have Owen Tippett, Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink and Samu Tuomaala knocking on the door, right wingers all 25 years old or younger.

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