The Los Angeles Kings announced a huge group of cuts today, and among them was veteran forward Nate Thompson. While most of the group is headed to the minor leagues to continue with the organization, Thompson will need to find a new home if he’s to continue his NHL career.
Now 37, Thompson has played 844 regular season games in the NHL, and another 86 in the postseason. The 2003 sixth-round pick worked his way p to the NHL with the Boston Bruins, and has also suited up for the Kings, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, and Winnipeg Jets.
Last season, in his second go-round with Philadelphia, Thompson scored just a single goal and three points in 33 games. Never known for his offense, the versatile bottom-sixer has always been asked to play a physical brand of defensive hockey, win his fair share of draws (he was at 55.7% last season), and contribute on the penalty kill. With nearly 1,500 career hits, more than 600 blocked shots, and more than 4,400 won draws, he’s been pretty successful at each.
Still, it’s hard to see him becoming a regular in an NHL lineup at this point, after now hitting the open market again just a few days before the season begins. Perhaps a team dealing with injuries down the middle will pick him up but it is far from guaranteed that he earns a contract before opening day.