It’s well known that the Philadelphia Flyers are going to string in some youth infusion into the lineup this season. This has the media and orange clad fans pumped for the upcoming season of Flyers hockey. Let’s get this party started already, so let’s walk down memory lane with the Wayne’s World movie, “Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth.” Flyers hockey will have a fresh new look this season with some prospects finally cracking the line-up.
There are many players on the current Flyers roster that have a lot to prove this coming season. If these players do not improve from prior years, then the end result might be a young prospect taking their spot on the roster in the near future. In this week’s Final Part 6 segment, let’s look at Forward Matt Read.
Read signed a three-year contract with the Flyers on March 24, 2011. He of course was an undrafted free-agent that the Flyers scooped up from Bemidji State University. Read made the big club after a successful training camp in 2011-12. He made his NHL debut for the Flyers on October 6, 2011 against the Boston Bruins, and Read recorded his first NHL goal on October 8, 2011 against Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. He had a successful first season with the orange and black recording a rookie high with 24 goals, and 23 assists for a total of 47 points in 79 games played.
In the lockout shortened season of 2012-13, Read really showed the Flyers top brass who he was made of. For the season, he recorded 11 goals, and 13 assists for a total of 24 points in 42 games played. Read’s skating abilities and his hockey IQ really gave the Flyers offense another dimension. He often found himself on the third line with Centerman Sean Couturier, however Read was placed on the second line at times. Moreover, the opposition had trouble of what line they wanted to match up their top defensive pairings with. Each line was well balanced in terms of scoring on a nightly basis.
Before the start of the 2013-14 season, Read signed a four-year $14.5 million contract extension with the Flyers on September 20, 2013. Fueled by his recent contract extension, Read enjoyed another good year posting his second career 20 goal season. For the season, he posted 22 goals, and 18 assists for a total of 40 points in 75 games played. These numbers were good numbers for a third line player. Read lived up to his contract at least for this season.
Things went from good to worse for Read by the beginning of the 2014-15 season. He took a step back in terms of scoring registering a measly 8 goals, and 22 assists for a total of 30 points in 80 games played. Read did reveal that he played with a high ankle sprain at the very least since that January, and Flyers fans were gracious enough to give him a break at least for one year.
Read was hoping for a bounce back season in 2015-16. However, things did not go as planned for him. For the season, Read registered a whopping 11 goals, and 15 assists for a total of 26 points in 79 games played. This had the media and Flyers fans alike throughout the area concerned about his regression. For good reason as his annual cap hit was $3.625 million per season. His numbers just did not justify his contract.
Hoping for a rebound season in 2016-17, Read did not have the year that he had hoped. While spending sometime in the press box as a healthy scratch, and missing about the last month of the season do to a broken arm. Read had a downright bad year. There’s no easy way to put it. For the season, Read tallied 10 goals, and 9 assists for a grand smacking total of 19 points in 63 games played. This left him as a buyout candidate in the off-season.
Fortunately, for Read’s sake the Flyers did not buy him out this past off-season. The Flyers would have been responsible for a portion of salary against the cap, while Read is in the last year of his four-year contract. It was just easier to keep him on the roster for this fall. However, with the likes of Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick striving for a position on the Flyers roster. Read has little room for error. For good reason as the Flyers and fans have been very patient with Read. They hoped he would regain his old form of potting 20 goals a season. Unfortunately, with all the young prospects in the system it’s too little too late this season for Read.
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports