The 28-year-old winger tallied a career-high 35 goals and 62 points last year and entrenched himself among the Jackets' top-six forwards, so there was no way Columbus was going to risk losing him to the Golden Knights. Atkinson may have reached his ceiling in 2016-17, but there's no reason to expect any regression from him, either, since he's heading into a contract year.
Atkinson scored a pair of goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs on Sunday.
The 27-year-old came out flying, tallying his two goals inside the first 5:02 of the game. But Atkinson and the Blue Jackets couldn't really maintain their fast start, as the Penguins outscored them 4-1 in the final three periods. After two goals in about the first five minutes, Atkinson registered two shots the rest of the game. Still, this is a good sign for the wing moving forward to Game 4. Prior to Sunday, Atkinson had one goal in his previous nine games.
Atkinson scored a goal with a plus-1 rating in Sunday's 3-2 win against the Maple Leafs.
Head coach John Tortorella benched Atkinson in the third period of Saturday's game against the Flyers and apparently that lit a fire under Atkinson. He responded favorably and the goal might give him a nice bump in confidence heading into the postseason. The Blue Jackets face the Penguins in the first round. Atkinson scored two goals -- one on the power play -- with an assist and plus-1 rating in four meetings against Pittsburgh in the regular season.
Atkinson, who has been struggling mightily recently, was benched during the third period of Saturday's game against the Flyers.
Atkinson has had a very good season by any measure (34 goals, 27 assists) but he's been in quite the slump for a while. He only has one point in his last 11 games, and John Tortorella has now benched him. The Jackets need Atkinson to pick it up if they are going to find any playoff success, and one presumes the hope is that being benched will light a fire under him.
Atkinson scored the winner on a gorgeous feed from Brandon Dubinsky in Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders.
Dubinsky had what seemed to be a great scoring chance of his own right on Thomas Greiss' doorstep, but instead of shooting he took the puck behind the net, skated around to the other side and found Atkinson for the easy tally. The 27-year-old winger now has four goals in his last six games, and his 33 on the season put him in a tie for fourth in the NHL alongside established snipers like Evgeni Malkin and Max Pacioretty.