Earlier this afternoon, the New Jersey Devils They announced that they have signed one of their two restricted free agents who submitted to arbitration. No, not Jesper Brat – he has until tomorrow at 9 AM before the hearing. of The Devils and Tyce Thompson have agreed to terms on a two-season contract worth a total of $1.525 million. This means that Thompson will be worth a whopping $762,500 during his time in the NHL.
According to the Devils’ own announcement, it’s a two-way deal for the first season. Thompson is paid $750,000 in the NHL and $175,000 in the AHL. In the second season of the contract, whether Thompson is a Devil or a Comet, Thompson will be paid $775,000 a one-way deal. Under the NHL CBA extension, the NHL minimum salary for 2022-23 is $750,000 and $775,000 for 2023-24. Thompson was re-signed in both years in the league with the only salary increase, which turned into a one-way contract in 2023-24.
I’ll admit I’m curious to see how the arbitration hearing against Thompson goes. He has played all nine NHL games in his career. He has one assist and seven rebounds in total. In the year In 2021, he played in seven games with New Jersey and 11 with Binghamton in an epidemic-shortened campaign. Last season, he played only two games in November Then he suffered an injury in the second game that required shoulder surgery. This caused the young forward to miss most of the season when he returned to the Utica Comets in April. He played in the playoffs for the Comets and finished the season. What Thompson can do in pro hockey still remains an open question. I’m not sure what would come up as a comp or exhibit if the hearing happens on August 11th as scheduled. He has yet to play nearly a full season in pro hockey.
Apparently, the arbitration was to save time for the implementation of the agreement. Mission accomplished. Although Thompson and his agent felt good about getting a one-way salary in the second season, the deal was low for the NHL. This upcoming training camp and preseason will be crucial in establishing why Thompson was on the brink of making the NHL out of college in the first place. The emergence of Fabian Zetterlund last season, the retention of Jesper Boqvist and the arrival of Alex Hotz (among the likes of Comets Nolan Foote and Graeme Clarke) means that a place won’t be easy for Thompson. Also, he’s 23 and may not have much room for development in his game – despite his lack of experience, he could blossom a little later.
From the perspective of Tom Fitzgerald and his staff, this was a task worth taking care of. He wanted a new contract, not much going on in terms of money or service, and the only requirement was that it be done before August 11th. Check, check and check. If it works out, then great; New Jersey gets at least some wing depth with the NHL’s low salary. If not, he can work on improving his game throughout the season in Utica. Thompson is not eligible for release for 2022-23 unless he plays fewer than 63 NHL games. If he plays in that many games, he’s probably too good to play in the AHL. In any case, he will have to clear the guarantee wire in 2023-24.
To put it bluntly, Tyce Thompson hasn’t done much yet to think he could be anyone in the pro game. This signing is not worth celebrating except for Thompson and the crowd. There’s even less to criticize as the NHL’s underdog bargain. It was something that had to be done.
Now, Fitzgerald, please sign Brett before 9 AM ET tomorrow. And maybe consider a deal with Mills Wood before August 6th. Unless the team really wants that arbitration to happen. (Maybe they will, after all, it’s a team-choice arbitration.) Once they’re settled and Zetterlund is re-signed, the Devils’ offseason could continue with putting some players in PTO and preparing for training camp next month.
In the meantime, what have you done with this signature? Do you think Tyus Thompson will live up to this NHL minimum contract? Do you think we’ll see more of New Jersey or Utica in the next two seasons? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Thompson and his new contract in the comments. Thanks for reading.