Flyers Acquire Nate Thompson From Montreal For 5th Round Pick
More like the Philadelphia Buyers, am I right?
Just before 11 AM on Monday morning, four hours before the NHL trade deadline, Chuck Fletcher pulled the trigger on his first trade since June. The Flyers have acquired center Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for their 2021 5th round pick.
This has been an interesting year for the Flyers forward depth. The Flyers have plenty of young players on the fringes of the NHL, as well as a couple AHL veterans that could step in if needed. They have dealt with long-term absences of Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom relatively well. In recent weeks, the Flyers fourth line of veteran wing man Michael Raffl and rookies Connor Bunnaman and Nicolas Aube-Kubél has exceeded expectations and generally been a positive.
However, when it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, there is no such thing as having too much depth, especially if that depth has playoff experience. The 35-year old Thompson has played 760 NHL games, including another 62 in the playoffs.
This season, he has four goals and ten assists in 63 games for the Canadiens. Thompson is also the only regular player on the Canadiens who is below 50% in Corsi (48.66%) and Expected Goals For% (47.95%) at 5-on-5. He is more or less a typical fourth liner - doesn't score a lot, mediocre advanced numbers, but a decent penalty killer that is well-liked by his teammates.
A player like Thompson is all you can realistically expect to get for a 5th round pick (although Colorado acquired Vadislav Namestkiov from Ottawa for a 4th, who I'd much rather have). He is a decent fourth liner, but I'm not sure he's much better than Connor Bunnaman, who may be sent back to the Phantoms as a result. Bunnaman has developed great chemistry with Raffl and NAK, and I'm not sure breaking that up for a marginal, experienced upgrade in Thompson is worth it.
You never truly know who will make the difference down the stretch and in the playoffs. Chuck Fletcher has made almost all the right moves so far as Flyers GM, and while this move certainly isn't flashy, maybe it will be the right one. Thompson isn't a difference-maker on his own, but he is a decent player, and has tools that can help the Flyers going forward. The Flyers still have just over $1 million in cap space (Thompson makes $1 million himself), and could add to that by sending down Bunnaman, who makes $736,666. Bottom line: this isn't a great trade. It probably won't matter much. But at the end of the day, you just never know. Let's give Nate Thompson a shot in Philly, and we'll see how it goes.