The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with Nate Thompson by signing the center to a one-year, $625,000 deal.
Thompson, 25, had a goal and four points in 32 games for Tampa Bay after being claimed off waivers in January from the Islanders.
Thompson is a grinder in the most perfect sense of the word. He’ll throw the body around, he’ll drop the gloves, he’ll get into the dirty areas. He’s fun that way. Plug him into the third or fourth line and he’ll do all the rest. One thing he may have to do more of is fight as last year’s super scrapper, Zenon Konopka, is now a member of the Islanders.
As the names come off that arbitration list and potential dates for hearings are squared away, we’ll see how much more interesting things get and if we’ll have any arduous court cases to get the fallout from. The biggest name on that list still waiting to sign, of course, is Chicago’s Antti Niemi.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.