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Here are 15 things you should know about new Flyers forward Cam Atkinson

So what was the deal with his wife owning a Gritty T-shirt? Scott Hartnell had something to do with it.

Cam Atkinson (center) was a two-time All-Star for the Columbus Blue Jackets. His acquisition for Jake Voracek was part of a furious week of dealing by Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Cam Atkinson (center) was a two-time All-Star for the Columbus Blue Jackets. His acquisition for Jake Voracek was part of a furious week of dealing by Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.Read moreKyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch

The Flyers got a little smaller, but better defensively with the addition of Cam Atkinson. We’ll see if he moves onto the right side of the top line with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Here’s a quick look at the two-time All-Star.

1. Seemed pretty odd that he just happened to have a Gritty T-shirt handy at his home in Columbus when he chatted with reporters shortly after being traded to the Flyers. Turns out it was his wife’s, who picked it up last summer when they visited Scott Hartnell’s family in Jersey.

2. “My wife [Natalie] loves Gritty,” he said. “We couldn’t leave Hartsy’s without a Gritty T-shirt. Everything’s all aligning perfectly. I told her to go run up and get it. I think she actually wore this, I’m not even kidding, a couple weeks ago to bed. We’re ready for this and couldn’t be more excited.”

3. Is the Blue Jackets’ all-time leader with six hat tricks, including one against the Flyers in 2018, which he completed with an empty-net goal with one second remaining.

Bonus item: Who is the Flyers all-time leader? See below for the answer.

4. Has posted photos of his family on Instagram (CamAtkinson13), and hooked up an “LFG” on Twitter to show his excitement after being traded to Philadelphia.

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5. Atkinson was dealt for Jake Voracek, who’s a couple months younger and whose cap hit is nearly $3 million more (corrected). The move helps the rebuilding Blue Jackets get closer to the $60.2 million salary-cap floor.

6. Broke his tibia and fibula when he was 15, and had been called too small (5-foot-8, 176 pounds) for the NHL level his entire life. Was a sixth-round pick of the Blue Jackets in 2008, 157th overall.

7. Had a terrific career at Boston College, where he played one season with Kevin Hayes. Both of them are from New England — Atkinson was born in Riverside, Conn.; Hayes is from Dorchester, Mass. — and both wear No. 13. They’ll probably fistfight over it or something.

8. Atkinson led the NCAA with 30 goals as a sophomore, including a pair in the 2010 national championship win over Wisconsin. Hayes joined the Eagles the following season as Atkinson became a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which was won by Andy Miele, who played for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2016-17.

9. Atkinson is a terrific penalty killer. He was second in the league last season with four shorthanded goals. The Jackets’ PK last year was a mediocre 21st, which is still better than the Flyers, who were 30th.

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10. Got into a funk during the 2017-18 season, but reclaimed his love for the game after getting some advice from diminutive Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis (5-8, 182, undrafted). “Just go read the game, and have fun,” St. Louis told Atkinson. The following season, he put a career-high 41 goals in 80 games.

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11. He’s slowed down considerably with 27 goals in 100 games over the last two seasons.

Bonus item: Tim Kerr is the Flyers’ leader in career hat tricks with 17. Kerr’s final hat trick was about four months before Atkinson was born.

12. Atkinson was born on June 5, 1989, a day made infamous in Philadelphia by the Phillies selecting high school outfielder Jeff Jackson with the fourth overall pick. Three picks later, the White Sox selected Frank Thomas. It happens.

13. The merchandise he sells on his website also raises money for charity, including his Force Network Fund, which supports families of military members and first responders.

14. His philanthropy last Christmas included a toy drive and a donation to a local sports bar near the arena, which was hammered by COVID-19 restrictions. He’d go there occasionally and wanted to help some folks out. Seems to understand the big picture.

15. “Giving back was instilled in me and my brothers at an early age,” Atkinson told the Columbus Dispatch. “We’ve been doing it for so long and Columbus is home for me. It’s important that we give back as much as we can to the community that I call home while I’m really in the limelight and still have that platform.”