The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Cam Atkinson to a seven-year contract worth $40.25 million, amounting to a payout of $5.75 million a year.
The deal locks Atkinson in to Columbus through the 2024-2025 season.
The 28-year-old is in the final year of a three-year contract worth $10.5 million, so this is a significant upgrade from his current $3.5 million annual salary.
Atkinson was drafted by the Blue Jackets in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and has been with the club ever since. He signed a two-year entry level contract in March of 2011 and re-upped for a two-year contract worth $1.75 million in August of 2013.
The Riverside native has only seen his stock rise through the years and has been producing relatively well, scoring at least 40 points in each of his full seasons with Columbus. His best season to date came in 2016-2017, when he produced 62 points in 82 games – including a career-best 35 goals. 10 of those goals came on the power play.
Atkinson also has 11 games of playoff experience with the Blue Jackets, with six points in the post-season.
Particulars of the new deal have yet to be released, but it is expected to contain some form of no-trade clause for the first while.
Atkinson is now signed to a longer term than any other player on the Columbus roster, which suggests he may be a lifer after all. He’s also the third highest paid player on the team, behind Artemi Panarin and Brandon Dubinsky.
There had been some questions in Ohio about the future of Atkinson with the Blue Jackets, but this late-Thursday deal pretty much puts that to bed.
And let’s be honest: for a player who’s seen steady increases in production over the years and has plenty of hockey left in him, this is a smart move for smart money.