On Wednesday morning the Springfield Thunderbirds, the American Hockey League affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, announced that they had re-signed veteran defenseman Tommy Cross to a one-year contract extension.
The 32-year-old blueliner from Simsbury, Connecticut, was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Instead of immediately signing with the Bruins, Cross continued his collegiate career at Boston College where he won two NCAA Championships with the Eagles, including captaining the team to their second championship in 2012.
After graduating, Cross signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins on April 11, 2012, and immediately made his professional debut at the end of the 2011-12 season with the Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
After two seasons in Providence, Cross had solidified his position on the blue line and was rewarded with a one-year contract extension on July 18, 2014.
During the 2014-15 season, Cross established career highs across the board with 22 points (4 goals and 18 assists) in 54 games played with the Providence Bruins.
At the start of the 2015-16 season, Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins and played the first two games of the season before getting his first NHL call-up on October 14, 2015.
Cross made his NHL debut the next day against the Colorado Avalanche and would record his first NHL point, an assist in his second career game on the 17th.
On June 14, 2017, Cross signed yet another one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins.
Then, on July 1, 2018, after six seasons in the Bruins organization, Cross chose to leave as a free agent and signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets and appeared in 73 games with the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters.
At the conclusion of his contract, Cross left the Blue Jackets and signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers on July 1, 2019. Cross spent the entire first season of the deal in Springfield with the Thunderbirds. (They were the Panthers AHL affiliate in 2019.)
Cross was set to spend another season in Springfield, but the Thunderbirds opted out of the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season, so on February 25, 2021, the Panthers assigned him to, ironically, the Providence Bruins. The team he started his professional career with.
By the time his contract with the Panthers ended, the Thunderbirds had been sold to the Blues, so Cross opted to remain in Springfield and signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on July 31, 2021.
At the beginning of this season, Cross was named captain of the Thunderbirds. In this video, Cross talks briefly about what it means to be a captain.
While the veteran defenseman has been a career AHLer with over 500 games in the league, he could provide depth for the Blues defense if need be.