The Montreal Canadiens lost a depth forward on waivers today when Kenny Agostino was claimed by the New Jersey Devils, but have acquired another. Montreal has traded a 2019 fourth-round pick (CGY) for Los Angeles Kings center Nate Thompson and a 2019 fifth-round pick (ARI).
Thompson, 34, represents a veteran addition for the Canadiens who have surprised many in their hunt for the playoffs this season. The young, speedy team is in a battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division and could very well meet one of those teams in the first round. Thompson, while not nearly as quick as some of his new Montreal teammates, is a reliable defensive center who is excellent in the faceoff circle and has 62 playoff games under his belt.
The cost for the Canadiens is almost nothing, given that the difference in draft picks is likely just a handful of spots once the standings are finalized. Instead they’ll take the rest of Thompson’s $1.65MM annual salary off the Kings’ hands. Montreal, who came into the season with plenty of cap space, can basically add whoever they want at the deadline to help their playoff chances this year. Thompson will only take up a small amount of their deadline cap room, but he will force them to make another roster move to open a spot.
The team recalled Dale Weise earlier today giving them a full 23-man roster, meaning there will be someone else on waivers tomorrow. CapFriendly believes that player will be Michael Chaput, though there has not yet been any confirmation from the team.
For the Kings, Thompson was always expected to be dealt before the deadline given his status as a pending unrestricted free agent. The team now has just two rental options remaining on the NHL roster, Carl Hagelin and Oscar Fantenberg.