Montreal Canadiens acquire Nate Thompson from Los Angeles

The fourth line renovation continues in Montreal.

After acquiring Dale Weise on Saturday, Marc Bergevin continued to overhaul a struggling fourth line by also trading for Los Angeles Kings forward Nate Thompson and a fifth round pick (Arizona’s selection) in this year’s draft. Heading the other way is the 2019 fourth-round pick previously acquired from the Calgary Flames.

Interest was first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and then the move was confirmed by David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period before being officially announced.

The former Kings centre will be part of the current overhauling of the Canadiens fourth line. In 53 games for LA this year, in heavy defensive minutes, Thompson has four goals and two assists, while being a strong presence in the faceoff circle for the Kings. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.

He has seven goals and 11 assists in 62 career playoff games.

He’ll likely take over the fourth line centre role from Michael Chaput and Matthew Peca, both of whom struggled over the course of this season. Comparatively speaking Thompson’s offensive metrics aren’t going to come close to Chaput and Peca’s but there’s a major reason for that.

Thompson starts almost exclusively in the defensive zone, and does so on a bad Los Angeles team. It shouldn’t be expected that he’ll be an offensive upgrade for the team right now, but will hopefully be someone they can rely on to win defensive zone draws, clear the puck and change.

The acquisition of Thompson now puts the Canadiens over the 23 allowable roster spots, and a corresponding move will likely be coming by the end of the day.

The Flames pick was previously acquired for a 2018 fourth-round pick at the 2018 NHL Draft.