Paul Holmgren's college tour continued on Thursday, as he signed Bemidji State forward Matt Read to a contract. The news came first via Eric Stromgren, a reporter in the Bemidji, Minn. area. Yes, BSU is in Minnesota, if you've never heard of it before. We won't blame you for that.
The Flyers have officially announced the news now. The contract begins in 2011-12, and there's no word on if he'll join the Phantoms on an amateur tryout contract for the rest of this season or anything like that. According to Michael Russo at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it's a three-year deal worth $2.7 million. Next season he'll earn $800,000, in 2012-13 he'll earn $900k, and in 13-14 he'll earn $1 million.
Read, 24, the captain of the BSU Beavers, just completed his senior NCAA season, where he scored 22 goals and 15 assists in 37 games. In 2009 as a sophomore, Read led the Beavers in scoring as they made a Cinderella run at the National Championship, ultimately losing in the Frozen Four to Miami of Ohio.
If this profile written by Stromgren just last week is any indication, Read seems like a winner. An excerpt:
"He's been the best player on our team since he came here as a freshman and that's very uncommon. That's why he's a special player," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. "He's such a total player now: he's better playing away from the puck, excellent on draws and he's pretty good defensively."
Take Tuesday's practice for example. Read sacrificed his body to block a shot during a drill - something uncommon and maybe even unexpected from the leading scorer and team captain on a hockey team.
"He's got depth to his game. Every year he's become more and more versatile," Serratore said. "That's why he's so attractive to the NHL right now because he's an all-situation type player. He was a complete player when he came here, but he's even more of a complete player now to the point where the game has slowed down so much for him out there."
That's just a piece. It's lengthy, and I'd suggest going over to read the whole thing. There was apparently a bit of a bidding war for Read's services. More on that after the jump.
The Columbus Dispatch reported over the weekend that the Blue Jackets tried signing Read following his junior season a year ago, but that Read wound up staying in Bemidji for his senior season. Writer Aaron Portzline reported that Read would "likely get a one-way contract from a big market team that doesn't mind burying his contract in the minor leagues if he's not ready for the NHL."
Well, that certainly sounds like the Flyers, doesn't it? Russo at the Star-Tribune reported on Tuesday that Read attended the Wild's player development camp last summer, but that his age was an issue for them. Russo also reported that it was expected that Read would sign a "seven-figure, one-way deal" for three or four years.
Read said on Twitter earlier today via his agent, Paul Ostby, that he's "excited to go to a team who really wanted me and who has a rich history." He seems like a winner. It'll be interesting to see where he fits in once he gets to the organization.
H/T: Bryan Reynolds at Hockey Wilderness. This story originally stated Read's age as 25. He's 24, it's been fixed.