With one game left in their six-game road trip, the Los Angeles Kings front office continued to make moves back home as the Feburary 25th NHL trade deadline approaches.
Nate Thompson sent to Montreal
The Kings traded forward Nate Thompson, along with a 2019 fifth round draft pick, to the Montreal Canadiens. In return, the Canadiens sent a 2019 fourth round draft pick.
Thompson had a limited no trade clause in his contract, but was willing to remove it in order to facilitate the trade. At 34 years old, Thompson arrived in Los Angeles nearly a year ago coming from Ottawa in a trade on February 13th 2018.
In exchange for a 4th round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the LA Kings have traded Nate Thompson and a 5th round pick to Canadiens.https://t.co/QfdNuDpknn
— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 11, 2019
In 79 games played, Thompson scored five goals and totaled 12 points throughout his short tenure. Primarily a fourth line player, Thompson was used in a defensive role to win faceoffs and kill penalties.
The veteran was the likely odd man out once Trevor Lewis returned from injury and the Kings looking to rely more and more on their young players. With a contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Kings had to make a deal in order to rid themselves of Thompson’s contract.
The Kings already had nine draft picks for the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft. Adding another one helps the organization continue to replenish their farm system. If necessary, these picks could also be lumped into a trade for a NHL experienced player during the draft.
Are the Kings done making moves?
Look for the Kings to make another move before the tradeline. If there is a trade, expect Carl Hagelin to be move, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Any player with a long term contract who can be moved most likely gets dealt during this years draft or the summer.
With Kings tantalizingly close to a playoff spot, some fans might want the Kings to go all in to make the playoffs instead of staying eligible for a lottery spot in the draft.
The reality is the Kings are in limbo: get out of the basement in the standings and you lose out on top prospects; make the playoffs and repeat last years first round exit.
What they do before the trade deadline can affect not just this season but future ones as well. The front office needs to make the right moves or handcuff this team to a state of mediocrity for a long time.