The Philadelphia Flyers hoped to have forward Cam Atkinson back at some point this season. The 33-year-old forward suffered an injury prior to the season, causing him to miss time. Unfortunately, the injury has cost Atkinson his season.

The Flyers announced that Atkinson had undergone neck surgery Wednesday. He will miss the regular season as a result. This decision was not the outcome anyone expected or wanted.

“He was doing everything he possibly could without getting opened up, especially in that area,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “Cam wanted to play. He’s a great competitor.”

It wasn’t long ago that Atkinson believed he was close to returning. “It’s been pretty good,” the Flyers forward said on December 3. “A little bit of an adjustment but just working out the kinks. I’m getting close, but not enough to where I think I can help this team right now. But I’m closer than not.”

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Instead, the 33-year-old won’t hit the ice for his team at all this season. It’s a big loss for the Flyers, who lose one of their biggest producers from a season ago. Atkinson finished second in goals (23) and points (50) for Philadelphia a year ago.

The Flyers were also hoping the 33-year-old could act as a bridge between team and coach. Atkinson played for six seasons under Tortorella earlier in his career when both were with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Philadelphia sits seventh in the Metropolitan Division as their playoff outlook continues to get bleaker. They are one of four teams to score fewer than 80 goals this season and have scored the fewest of any Eastern Conference team.