It’s never good when your rookie year is your best season. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Flyers and Matt Read, the undrafted forward has never quite reached the heights of his 2011-12 season when he was a first-year player and scored 47 points.
Since then he’s been in a decline and last season was more of the same. In a top nine role, Read scored 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 63 games. While it was the star forwards that hurt the Flyers more last year, it would have been nice if the now-31 year old could have contributed some depth scoring.
However, it didn’t always look that bad for Read last season. In fact, he started off the year on a tear, scoring five points in the first five games and seeing some top-line minutes during the hot streak.
Most guessed that wouldn’t last and they were right. In the 15 games past the first five, Read contributed just four points, a better example of his season than the point-per-game pace he started with.
Despite his disappointing points total, Read has always had strong advanced stats. He’s not bad defensively, which helps to account for that, but like most Flyers has certainly had some bad luck.
Still, some Philly fans were calling for Read to be bought out over the summer. He only has one year left, but carries a $3.625 million cap hit and takes up a roster spot that could go to a younger player.
Luckily, general manager Ron Hextall didn’t listen. The former Flyer goalie would not have used the saved cap space this year and a cap hit from the buyout would have carried over to next year, just hurting Philadelphia down the road.
Read is one of many bottom-six forwards still vying for a spot on the Flyers. He had a good first preseason game, but his spot is not a 100 percent lock by any means.
Just because Read carries a big cap hit and has NHL experience, I’m not convinced Hextall wouldn’t send him to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in favor of a prospect. He hasn’t said much on the manner, but Read obviously needs to do more.
If Read does make the team, it will be in a defensive role with a focus on playing the penalty kill. That’s probably for the best for the player since his offensive days are over.
Read’s at the point that if he can even replicate his 19 points in a diminished role, it will be a success. When your paying a player the amount the Flyers are paying Read that’s never a good sign.
I still believe Read makes the roster, but won’t play a full season with all of the forwards the Flyers have. There will be plenty of shuffling.
But for Philly, the best outcome would be a suitable trade that comes along that sends Read packing, ending his seven-year career with the orange and black.