The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at Nate Thompson.
Thompson arrived just over two weeks before the NHL hiatus was put in place amid the coronavirus outbreak, so we were only able to see him dress for seven games as a Flyer. Unlike Derek Grant – who found instant chemistry with the team – Thompson struggled to find his place in the lineup.
While he had only one assist through those games, it didn’t take long for Flyers fans to root for the 35-year-old veteran. In just his fourth game as a Flyer, he made a statement and dropped the gloves against the Capitals’ Tom Wilson after he laid a hit on Thompson’s new teammate Michal Raffl.
He already has the respect of Philadelphia; let’s just hope the production will follow suit.
Since it was a rather small portion of play, Thompson is getting an incomplete from me – but gets an A for jumping right into things and possessing qualities that Flyers fans respect immensely.
Thompson was acquired at the trade deadline from Montreal, and in his seven games with the Flyers, he registered one assist. Grant’s production in the seven games he played with the Flyers allowed us to give him a grade of an A, but for Thompson, seven games is not nearly enough of a sample size.
With that being said, the Flyers haven’t and won’t be asking much of Thompson aside from being a bottom-six forward who plays a smart disciplined game, a role that Thompson has played throughout his career.
An incomplete for Thompson from me.
General manager Chuck Fletcher added Thompson at the deadline for depth, experience and help on the penalty kill, taking the load off some of the team’s bigger performers. Thompson is a 35-year-old who has played in an Eastern Conference Final and a Western Conference Final, a center with a pedigree of winning faceoffs and impacting the game in limited minutes.
The Flyers got Thompson for only seven games (they went 6-1-0 in those contests) before the season was brought to a halt by the coronavirus outbreak. The veteran was a cost-effective acquisition for the Flyers and could help them during this playoff run.
“Bringing Nate the way Chuck did there at the trade deadline gives us an experienced guy, a veteran guy that’s been through some wars and battles,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said during training camp. “A real great example for our younger players. His presence on the line that he plays on and the help that he does for us on the penalty killing is a big part. You need depth, you need players who have got that character and have been through it. Nate is certainly a guy who’s been in the NHL for quite a few years and he brings a lot of experience to our team.”
Thompson isn’t a guy that’s going to score in bunches or stand out by creating chance after chance. He gets a B- because of the small sample size but for also being a dependable role guy the team expected.
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