The reshaping of the Kings roster continued Monday with the trade of depth forward Nate Thompson to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Kings sent Thompson and a fifth-round draft pick to Montreal for a fourth-round selection. Both draft picks are this year. The move was expected because Thompson is on an expiring contract and, with Carl Hagelin, is seen as a valuable rental role-player to another team.
That didn’t make it easy to trade a player known for his high character.
“[It’s] always difficult moving good people,” general manager Rob Blake said via email. “Nate was a good pro and teammate.”
Thompson reportedly waived his modified no-move clause, in which, according to capfriendly.com, he can provide a list of 10 trade destinations. The move comes three weeks after the Kings traded defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Kings transition toward the future before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Montreal will be Thompson’s seventh NHL team in a 13-year career built on defense, faceoff prowess and penalty killing. He was acquired, with Dion Phaneuf, from the Ottawa Senators for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore almost a year ago Monday.
Thompson participated in the Kings’ morning skate Monday, on a line with Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford. The Kings will likely plug in Austin Wagner on that line against the Washington Capitals.
The fourth-round pick was previously acquired from the Calgary Flames, and the fifth-round pick was previously acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the rights to Dominik Kubalik.