This time last year, the name Matt Read meant nothing to most people. When the Flyers signed him at the end of last March, a Google search was a near prerequisite to find out detailed information about him.
It is amazing how quickly things change.
Read is now a reliable NHL forward who can play big minutes in all situations, score clutch goals, and will likely surpass the 20-goal mark in his rookie season.
However, there is more to it than that.
Read will be 26-years old in a few months and, for all intents and purposes, is already entering the prime of his career, even if he is just a rookie.
Sure, he will likely continue to improve but it is not highly probable he will experience a significant jump in production from this season to the next.
Throughout the duration of his three-year, $2.7 million contract, he will be a potent forward. At $900,000 per season, he will also provide incredible bang for the buck.
It is for those reasons that the Flyers should consider shopping Read.
Teams would kill for an affordable prospect who can post around 50-60 points per season and is under contract for a couple more years. As such, he would have more trade value than, say, Jakub Voracek, who costs approximately $44.5k more per point and will command a raise as a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Of course, it is a double-edged sword to trade a cheap player from a team that needs to cut corners under the cap where possible but it might be a risk the Flyers need to take.
With a less-than-stellar defense and two goaltenders who have alternating confidence issues, the Flyers may need to part with a valuable part of their offense if the team intends to land a top-pairing defender, whether it be at the trade deadline or in the offseason.
If, at any point in time, a Shea Weber or Ryan Suter actually become available, a small-market team like the Nashville Predators would put extra value on the cap-friendly Read.
Uncovering obscure college prospects who develop into legitimate two-way threats at a cheap price is an absolute rarity but if the Flyers fail to keep pucks out of the net, what does it matter?
Read is an integral part of Philadelphia’s offense but he may turn out to mean more to the Flyers as a marketable asset.