The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with center Nate Thompson today, re-signing him to a one-year contract, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this afternoon. The restricted free agent had been scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 22.
"We are pleased to get Nate signed to his contract today, thereby avoiding the arbitration process," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He will add depth up front for us and getting the contract signing behind him allows Nate to focus on conditioning and preparations for training camp. We are happy to have him back."
Thompson, 6-foot, 207 pounds, played in 32 games with the Lightning last season after being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders on January 21, 2010, recording a goal and four points. He also stood out in the face-off circle, winning 219 of 385 draws taken (56.9 percent). Before joining the Lightning Thompson had registered a goal and six points with 39 games with New York. Between Tampa Bay and New York he set career highs for assists with eight, points with 10 and tied his career high with two goals.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Thompson has played in 118 career NHL games with the Lightning, Islanders and Boston Bruins, notching four goals and 14 points with 105 penalty minutes. He has averaged 12 minutes per game or more in each of the previous two seasons.
Thompson has played in 216 career AHL games with the Providence Bruins, amassing 35 goals and 80 points during his AHL career. He served as alternate captain for Providence in 2007-08. Thompson has also played in 16 career Calder Cup Playoff games, recording two assists.
Thompson was drafted by the Bruins in the sixth round, 183rd overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He played junior hockey for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL before making his professional debut with Providence in the 2005 Atlantic Division Finals.