Former NY Islanders forward Nate Thompson calls it a career after 15 seasons

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
New York Islanders v New York Rangers / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

After 15 seasons in the NHL, including 82 games with the New York Islanders from 2008-10, 38-year-old forward Nate Thompson retired on Wednesday. Thompson broke the news himself as a guest on the Empty Netters podcast with hosts Dan and Chris Powers. “I’m not playing anymore,” Thompson said casually. “I am retiring."

Recognized as a hard worker and solid teammate throughout his career, the Islanders claimed Thompson off waivers on October 8, 2008, just before the start of the 2008-09 season. On Nov. 4, in his 16th career game, he scored his first NHL goal, a short-handed one, against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in a 2-1 Islanders win.

Thompson suffered three different injuries during his first season on Long Island, limiting him to only 43 games played. He signed a one-year contract to remain with the team that summer and had one goal and five assists in 39 games the following year when he was put on waivers and claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It was an emotional 24 hours," Thompson said about being placed on waivers in Newsday at the time. "You just have to deal with the anxiety of not knowing where you're going. It's tough on anybody, but the toughest part was leaving the guys over there."

"From the time I was 4 until 38, hockey has been my life and best friend," Thompson wrote in a tweet with a video clip from his appearance on the show. "I'm beyond grateful and thankful for all the great people I've met and friendships I've made. All good things must come to an end, so thank you to all who supported me along this journey."

Thompson last played in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2021-22, appearing in 33 games. He had a professional tryout (PTO) with the Los Angeles Kings last season but was released. A sixth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2003, he played for eight teams (Tampa Bay, Anaheim, the Islanders, Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Flyers, Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Winnipeg Jets) in 844 career games scoring 65 goals and 99 assists. He had eight goals in 86 Stanley Cup Playoff games.