Matt Read came to Philadelphia as a 25-year old undrafted rookie from tiny Bemidji State University. At training camp, the small forward (all five-foot-ten, 185 pounds) began turning heads immediately, and rumors swirled that he would make the team for the 2011-2012 season.
He did in fact make the Flyers, and registered 24 goals and 23 assists for 57 points. Those 24 goals were league leading amongst rookies, but he wasn’t even nominated for a Calder Trophy.
Read entered his second professional season with the Flyers with the risk of a “sophomore slump” and worry that his late development would stunt his growth. The Flyers were counting on Read to take the next step in his development to offset the loss of veteran forward Jaromir Jagr.
Like the year prior, Read was destined for a big role on the Flyers. As a rookie, the Flyers threw the forward right into the fire, as he played in all phases of the game (even strength, power play, and penalty kill). Read survived, and beat all expectations placed upon him.
A sophomore slump was of no worry to Read after his successful stint playing overseas during the lockout, during which he led his team in points. Read started the regular season with the Flyers out strong, recording his first career hat trick against the Florida Panthers just five games into the season.
Unfortunately, a torn rib muscle injury derailed Read’s progress, and he struggled upon his eventual return (which happened four weeks early than projected).
Read started his sophomore season strong and finished it stronger, ending his 2013 campaign with 11 goals and 13 assists in 42 games. He found his scoring touch late in the season while playing on a line with Wayne Simmonds. Barring Read’s injury, he was on pace for meeting and exceeding expectations in a lockout-shortened season.
Matt Read is under Philadelphia control for one more year, with a cap hit of $900,000. After his three year entry-level contract ends, he can become an unrestricted free agent. Although the right-winger has been in trade rumors since his rise as a rookie, he is a player that the Flyers should keep. Read is the type of player that the Flyers need to sign to a team-friendly long-term deal. He is a third-line forward with a nice scoring touch that can play all three phases.