Some late-breaking news from the Flyers on this Friday evening. Paul Holmgren has said and suggested multiple times before that he sees versatile forward Matt Read as one of the core players on the team moving forward, and now he's said it with confidence: courtesy of Anthony SanFilippo, the Bemidji State product and the Flyers agreed to a four-year, $14.5 million contract extension which will keep Read in Philadelphia through the 2017-18 season.
The deal works out to an average annual value against the cap of $3.625 million, and will cover Read's age-28, 29, 30, and 31 seasons. He was due to be an unrestricted free agent this coming summer straight off of his entry-level deal. Read had expressed a willingness to sign a long-term extension with the team just last week, so it's not too surprising that the Flyers have wrapped him up for the rest of his prime (while, at the same time, not going too far beyond it).
Read, a former undrafted free agent, is clearly a guy that the Flyers like, and he offers a very interesting and diverse skill set -- good offense, solid two-way play, the ability to play on really any spot on any line, power play or penalty kill ... in essence, you can see how he's endeared himself to the Flyers in his two years here. He's put up 71 points in 121 career NHL games, which isn't bad at all for a guy in his first and second NHL season (even at the ages of 25 and 26).
With the logjam of forwards already under contract long-term here, some questions about the Flyers' ability to trade Read popped up over the course of the summer, and his name came around in trade rumors every so often as well. In particular, it looked like the writing was on the wall for Read when the team was rumored to have signed Dan Cleary for three years and $2.75 million per year last week.
But as they typically do, Holmgren and the front office have found some space in the budget for a player they really like, and now he'll be here for the next five seasons. Now it looks like it's down to just Brayden Schenn in the list of young Flyers forwards who need contract extensions. Stay tuned.
More analysis to come.