The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired another big-ticket player acquiring Cam Atkinson from the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, the Flyers will send Jakub Voracek back to the Blue Jackets. Atkinson joins Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen as the other big names coming into Philadelphia this offseason, really changing the landscape of the Flyers roster. Neither team has retained any salary in the deal.
Atkinson, 32, has four years left on his current contract and carries a $5.875MM cap hit. After scoring 41 goals in the 2018-19 season, Atkinson’s numbers have come down significantly over the last two seasons, but is still one of the most dynamic players on the Blue Jackets roster. After trading Seth Jones, this next move perhaps signals that the Blue Jackets are going to tear out all of the older players on the team and start a rebuild.
Of course, Voracek doesn’t fit into that narrative, as he is 31 and actually comes with an even higher cap hit. The Flyers were clear that Voracek was on the table when they left him exposed to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft, as his $8.25MM cap hit limits what they can do with the rest of the roster. Voracek’s deal will expire at the end of the 2023-24 season, and could perhaps even be flipped by the Blue Jackets to make his contract more palatable. Despite his big cap number, the veteran forward doesn’t have any trade protection.
Voracek actually started his NHL career in Columbus, playing three years for the club before going to the Flyers in 2011. He has been a consistent offensive performer through the years, but has never been a big goal-scoring threat. This season, he registered just nine goals, but still had 43 points in 53 games. For the Flyers, it’s mostly just about shaking up a core that had hit a plateau and no longer looked like true contenders. Adding Atkinson gives the team a different look, while also saving the team a little bit of cap space.
In fact, Philadelphia now has a little over $12.4MM in cap space for this summer, with new contracts for RFAs Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim to come. The team actually could still be in the market for some free agent additions, though they’ll have to be careful with how they spend their money. Both captain Claude Giroux and top forward Sean Couturier are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next summer. If they intend to re-sign them—which certainly doesn’t seem guaranteed after the huge changes recently—handing out any other big-money deals will be tough to work around.