BROSSARD - Some opportunities in life are just too good to pass up.
That was the case for centerman Nate Thompson when he was approached by the Los Angeles Kings' brass about waving his no-trade clause to join the Canadiens.
The 34-year-old Anchorage, AK native jumped at the chance to join an Original Six franchise that continues to make significant noise in the Eastern Conference.
"They're having a great year this year. They've got a great bunch of guys," said Thompson, who was acquired on Monday from the Kings, along with a fifth-round pick in 2019, in exchange for a fourth-round selection later on this year as well. "They play extremely fast. I noticed that when we played earlier in the season."
That was back on October 11 at the Bell Centre, when the Kings handed the Canadiens a 3-0 loss in their home opener.
Now, Thompson will be on the other side of things and he's ecstatic to join the fold.
"I've been in the League a little while now, but I feel like kind of a young guy today," said Thompson, who boasts 672 games of NHL experience on his resume with the Bruins, Islanders, Lighting, Ducks, Senators and the Kings. "It gave me goosebumps when I realized that I was going to be playing for them."
The 12-year NHL veteran is eager to contribute to the Canadiens' cause in any way possible.
"My game's pretty simple. I'm one of those guys that just goes about his business in a subtle way. I try to bring energy to the team. I think I skate pretty well. I can help with faceoffs and penalty killing, and just chipping in with the odd goal here and there," explained Thompson, who has won an impressive 52.6% of his draws over the years. "For me, it's about trying to complement the team. They've got a good mixture of younger and veteran guys that have done a great job this year, so I'm just going to try to come in and do what I can to help."
While Thompson isn't necessarily familiar with very many of his new teammates, there will still be a few familiar faces in the locker room.
He represented Team USA with Jeff Petry at the World Hockey Championship in both 2012 and 2013, and also played with newcomer Christian Folin in Los Angeles last season.
Brand new surroundings
If Thompson was pleased with Monday's move north of the border, his wife, Sydney, was as well.
The couple married last summer in Beverly Hills.
"She's been great. We went through this last year moving from Ottawa to LA, so she was kind of like - 'Alright, here we go!' She was excited," revealed Thompson. "She always used to joke around that she wanted to watch our team in Montreal, and I said - 'Well, now you have a pretty good chance.' More importantly, she was extremely supportive and happy for me."
Speaking of taking in a game in Montreal, Thompson fondly recalls hearing his parents, Robert and Cathy, describe a memorable experience taking in a tilt many years ago at the Canadiens' former home.
"When I was a lot younger, my dad was on a business trip with my mom and they went to Montreal. They went to a game at the old Forum. I remember them talking about it, how amazing it was going to a game at that time. I always remember that," mentioned Thompson. "Having the chance to play in Montreal, I just always thought - 'Wow, it would be amazing to play for the Canadiens.' Now, I'm getting a chance."
As for his readiness to deal with some harsher weather than he's been used to of late, the rigors of Quebec winters don't seem to bother him one bit.
"I'm as ready as I can be, I guess," concluded Thompson with a laugh. "I've been extremely lucky playing in warm climates for most of my career, but to get a chance to play for the Canadiens, cold weather isn't a big deal at all. It's just snow, and it's all good."