Irresponsible Rumormongering

Are the Rangers interested in Cam Atkinson?

cam atkinson
Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

Aaron Portzline, a beat writer for the Columbus Blue Jackets, tweeted this morning that the Rangers have been calling Columbus about winger Cam Atkinson. Considering the Rangers desperately need a top-six winger, the interest in Atkinson makes sense. He’s a consistent 20-goal scorer, on pace for 25 goals this year. He’s also a shoot-first guy, a type of player the Rangers are desperate for.

Atkinson is small at 5’7 and 180 lbs, but that doesn’t stop him from getting himself into shooting positions. He has taken over 200 shots per season over the last three seasons (91 shots in 35 games three seasons ago), and is on pace to crack 200 again this year. At $3.5 million over the next two seasons, he’s signed to a very reasonable deal as well.

Arkinson was not included in the initial post about potentially available top-six forwards because he has quickly become a favorite of John Tortorella. He’s a guy that will go to the front of the net for goals, another type of player the Rangers sorely need, but a player that Torts covets. The price to acquire him will be high, if he’s even available.

In terms of a return, the Blue Jackets are tough to gauge. The Ryan Johansen/Seth Jones swap was one done out of necessity for both teams. Johansen wasn’t re-signing in Columbus, and they traded him for another young talented cornerstone in Jones. For someone like Atkinson, it would likely need to be the same sort of trade, one that helps them both immediately and in the future. Atkinson is only 27, after all.

On the blue line, Columbus has three right handers in Jones, David Savard, and Dalton Prout. They also have three lefties in Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, and Ryan Murray. They also have Zach Werenski on the way. A deal for Marc Staal or Dan Girardi, which is a pipe dream to begin with, likely doesn’t work for Columbus.

So at this point, it’s either a roster forward –and no, Tanner Glass or Emerson Etem won’t cut it straight up– or a prospect. Of course the wrench here is that Kerby Rychel requested a trade, and he could make things interesting. Honestly, I don’t think the teams are a match, especially since they are in the same division. Weirder things have happened, though.

"Are the Rangers interested in Cam Atkinson?", 3 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
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35 Comments

  1. He sounds like a poor man’s MSL, when MSL was in his prime of course. Right now, he’d be a younger, more effective version of last year’s MSL, something we sorely miss and need right now.

    Agree with you Dave, I have no idea what the deal would be. I’m just speculating at the moment, not at all advocating…but what about this…

    Atkinson straight up for Hayes, CBJ picks up 50% of the salary for the balance of the season. We’d be close then but might need to shed someone else, such as cutting Stalberg or sending Glass back down. Hayes gives Columbus a player with upside and additional cap space as of next season.

    Atkinson for Klein–I know you said they may be happy with their defense, and I certainly don’t want to see Klein go, but you have to give to get. If the Rangers feel McIlrath is ready, then it might be worth a shot. Maybe then trade a Hayes or Kreider (or both) in a separate deal to get another winger and maybe some defensive depth. Or a blockbuster between the two teams involving some or all of these names.

    1. You’re ready to give up on a talent like Hayes that quickly? And for a mediocre player like Cam Atkinson?

      Atkinson is a nice player, but that’s about it, he’s posted 40 points in his only two full seasons. He’s 26 so this should be his peak and then it’s downhill from here. For some more perspective, Hayes’ current “poor season” is in line with one of Atkinson’s career years.

      That trade would be a massive downgrade across the board for the Rangers. More salary, less scoring, less size, older player.

        1. Yeah, as I think about it, it probably is a bit risky. As I said, I was just throwing some ideas out. Not at all advocating what to do here.

          But on the other hand, I was just on Carp’s live chat (Rick Carpiniello, Rangers beat writer from LoHud). He’s saying to keep in mind that the Hawks usually don’t miss a beat on a player. There’s a reason why they were willing to move on from Hayes. Work ethic issues? (He lumped Duclair in the same category, btw). And, he mentioned again that hands down, the guy who expends the LEAST effort in practice is in fact Hayes. Kreider is a different story. Hard working, just hasn’t figured it all out yet.

          To get, you’ve got to give. Maybe the deal would be more complex. Who knows?

          1. Talent is talent. Hayes has tons of it. I’m not going to damn a player based on what he does in practice. Also, Hayes still has yet to play 150 professional hockey games. In terms of experience, he’s a relative baby. He has so much development ahead of him. You mentioned MSL, MSL, another 4 year college player, didn’t take off until he reached over 225 pro games. Patience is the key here.

            Hayes just moves in slow motion, that’s what I chalk up the practice criticisms to. I don’t think it’s a question of effort. Hayes came back from nearly having his leg amputated in college to play in the NHL. It’s like the story about Petr Nedved from Losing the Edge. Nedved, at 17, turned his back on everything he knew and was smuggled out from under the Iron Curtain to play in the West. If he was caught he was facing a lifetime in prison as a defector. Then, a few years later Mark Messier has the gall to say Nedved has no heart and gets the kid run out of NY.

            Last thing, Chicago didn’t pass on Hayes. Hayes simply stayed in college until Chicago’s rights to him expired. I never read anywhere that Chicago passed on Hayes. It’s likely Chicago didn’t want to sign Hayes after his bout with Compartment Syndrome, but that has nothing to do with his character.

            Sorry, to jump on you Eddie, I respect your opinion, I’ve been seeing lots of Hayes bashing lately, and I felt this was the time to speak up.

          2. Nope, you are not at all Chris. I respect your opinion and perspective greatly. I’m a reporter at heart and I’m just reporting what is being said. I have no idea what the deal is with Hayes. None of us do. Even a scout, coach or GM can’t look into the heart of a player and really know 100% for sure what’s going on in there. But for me, hearing from various sources about lack of effort to this degree is very, very concerning.

            He may very well be everything you said. But we also have seen far too many examples of guys with lots of potential, who in the end were either unable or unwilling to take their game to the next level. Sometimes an athlete just has to mature. Sometimes they need a change of scenery to do so.

            Or sometimes they simply never do.

          3. You’re not wrong Eddie. But I’m willing to let Hayes have a chance to work things out.

            Giving up on young players was a hallmark of the post cup years. I’d hate to fall back into that mess again.

            Look at the bright side, if Hayes continues his lackluster season his new contract won’t cost all that much this summer.

          4. One other point Chris. I know we as fans tend to focus on mistakes from past management. And we tend to lament the young players we let get away. But remember, a lot of young players were traded away to actually win the Cup, and that worked.

            And, as I mentioned the other day in response to Ranger17’s post about the disastrous Hodge for Middleton trade, yes, those can happen. But there’s equal risk in not knowing when to cut bait on young players that may or may not ever live up to their potential, as was the case with Alexei Kovalev. The Rangers had a chance to acquire Brendan Shanahan for Kovalev a few years after the Cup was won. Kovalev had max potential, but just couldn’t ever consistently harness it. We balked on that trade, and then wound up trading him anyway a few years later once his trade value went down for the likes of Petr Nedved.

            There’s never an easy answer as to when and if to deal young talent. Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is still hot when you have a chance to fit in a piece that can help you win now. Unless it’s a generational talent, I’m never opposed to trading young players for the right deal. They can always be recouped.

      1. Agree, I would never do Hayes for Atkinson straight up. Hayes can become something Atkinson will never be.

      1. Me too, but we have a lot of guys with size who don’t play all that physical. Sometimes the smaller guys can be just as gritty and tenacious. Size isn’t everything. Skill is.

  2. Come on Eddie Don’t give up on Hayes just yet . Give him some time and Kreider well i don’t really know to do about him . He is frustrating to be sure , but as i said to you last week remember Middleton for Hodge . Would like to see Rychel for Etem strait up if that would work . Rychel wants out and should come cheap , cheaper than Drouin i would think . To get Drouin would need to be Etem and a pick . What do you think

    1. I would gladly send Etem and a 1st for Drouin. Drouin is way better than anything the Rangers would get with either their 2016 or 2017 first round pick.

      Of course, there is no way TB takes that deal.

      1. Totally right. Etem for Drouin would only result if Steve Yzerman had a psychotic break just prior to making the trade.

  3. Cam would make sense he did play with Brass when he was with Columbus and they are friends and it is time to get rid of guys who aren’t pulling their weight.

  4. Depending on the asking price id be interested. A shoot first right handed shooting top 6 forward is exactly what they need. Im not saying Cam is the perfect player for them, just what he is.

  5. As a fellow 5’7″ 175 guy who played a little years ago, take it from me, there are only so many of us one can/should field on a roster. One either has to be tremendously gifted (MSL, Zucc) or tremendously tough (Domi). Atkinson ain’t either. No fan of Hayes (who needs 6’5″ 230 figure skaters?) but I would wait longer on his tools than deal him for just an Atkinson. We need finishers and we also need “jam”. Team of passers. No goals, no fun. Meh.

    1. But he is a shoot first guy, and from what I understand, drives possession well. Qualities we need. For what price is the question.

  6. Would he help?—Yeah maybe. But I don’t think they need another 2nd or 3rd line winger. They need that 1st line stud. Real talent that other teams have to prepare for. How do they find that? That’s the question!! I think this team needs a game changing player trade. Atkinson seems like he would fit in, but, I want more. I can dream, can’t I? (;

    1. It’s a great point Joe. Of course that would be the ideal if such a player were out there. Seems unlikely, but who knows?

      That being said, if you improve the effectiveness of your second line with a shoot first guy who drives possession (from what I hear anyway), and it makes that line more effective, then doesn’t that automatically make the top line better? I mean, isn’t part of the problem right now that the second line has been so bad, due to the slow start from Stepan (largely it seems because of injuries), Kreider’s ineffectiveness, and Hayes’ apparent work ethic issues? If those guys were clicking right now, wouldn’t the top line be that much better?

      1. Yeah, but even if they all are functioning at full bore, you really think there’s enough there to win it all? That’s the goal, after all. The coach already proclaimed that. I just feel they need a Superstar. Believe me, I know how hard that is going to be to accomplish—trading-wise and cap-wise. But that’s how I feel. I look at Washington this year, and I really believe they have no fear of the Rangers. And rightfully so. Especially if they’re not even performing at the same level as the team that failed to win it all last year. Now, Atkinson could help, but I would hope that they could somehow pry Scotty Hartnell away from Torts too. Yeah, I know—he sucks. But on this team, he would add something that is lacking to this oh so vanilla lineup. Just a thought.

    2. I get the concern there. My take is that he’s a shoot-first guy, and the top-six need someone like that. Add him, maybe it balances out?

      1. I hope we are living in the pre-Stamkos era of NYR history. I think we have some pieces that could be enticing to Yzerman.

  7. Wait – he has a high corsi!! Load up the truck and get him here immediately!!!
    .
    Seriously, the only thing he has going for him is that he is a righty and has scored over 20 goals. Trading Hayes or Klein for his guy? A big center who put up numbers already and our most consistent Dman? Sheesh
    .
    Enough with the undersized players. Should NYR get Ennis as well?
    .
    Now if Boone Jenner or Murray are available? Now I’m listening.

  8. I don’t understand the hype behind the kid, he’s not the next St. Louis. He’s a 20 goal scorer, which we have plenty of. The idea of trading a Hayes or Krieder for him is ridiculous, Krieder has the potential to be an insane player if he becomes more consistent and Hayes is a great talent that could become a dangerous playmaker. Why trade either of them for an undersized skill guy? I just don’t see it.

    1. Never said he was the next St. Louis. That’s rarefied air territory. I said he was a poor man’s version–a second line winger who apparently drives possession, plays hard and can score 22-25 goals/season. I’ll take that.

      Also, never said Kreider should be dealt for Atkinson. If you are going to deal Kreider, then it needs to be part of a much greater return. As for Hayes, I don’t know. Again, I’m just throwing out names. The Rangers apparently have interest in this guy. Well placed sources are saying its serious interest. So if so, they obviously have an idea of what they would send to CBJ. The question is, of our tradeable assets, who would the Rangers be willing to part with, and what would Columbus want?

      As for Atkinson’s relative worth, not that this means much, but apparently Torts loves the kid. I wonder if the CBJ fans would look at Hayes and wonder if he’s would be the downgrade in this mythical scenario, given is poor season and worse, work ethic issues? Maybe they have the same misgivings we do about making this theoretical deal.

      Obviously, what the fans think is irrelevant. And again, everyone is giving me thumbs down here (and I am very hurt, btw! :)), but I’m not saying we should do any of this. I’m just trying to figure out how this trade can happen. Anyone have any theories?

      1. I mean I wasn’t throwing any of this at you, I’m just basing it on what I’ve heard in general man. I just don’t get the hype over the kid, even last year when the rumor about him at the trade deadline was a thing I didn’t like the idea of trading one of our top guys.

  9. JVR would be great looking in Broadway Blue Yakupov is injury prone and Atkinson would fit what we need a speedy wing. we can always hope

  10. Interesting that we are talking about 3 former Boston College players – wonder if having such a connection helps in any decision the Rangers make?

  11. Can’t teach size.
    Want guys who help us to dominate.

    Hayes, Kreider, MIller are potentially those guys.
    Big wheels
    atkinson is useful grease to help move the wheel, but let’s not trade a wheel for grease.

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