We're coming down to the home stretch for NHL trade deadline deals with the March 2 date approaching. Despite the Flyers' recent surge they still only have a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs. The responsible thing for the Flyers to do would be to commit to being "sellers" and try to shop as many of their players as they can.
Not only could the Flyers acquire additional draft picks in what appears to be a very strong 2015 NHL Draft, but they can also clear out contracts and cap space. But who should be traded? Who would other teams covet? What could the Flyers reasonably expect to get in return?
I'm of the opinion that the Flyers should listen on, if not actively shop everyone on the roster not named Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier or Steve Mason. And with that said, you never say never even on those players if someone blows you away.
So what about Matt Read?
The case for trading Read
It wasn't long ago that Matt Read was considered a key cog in the Flyers' young core. He's been pretty much a lock for 20 goals and 40 points since he made the team as a 25 year old rookie. He's always been lauded for his versatility in being able to play in any situation -- whether that's been playing at either wing, or center; or playing minutes on both the power play and penalty kill.
2014-15 has been a different story for Read however. He's currently pacing for a six goal, 31 point season which has already included a 25 game goalless drought. Not only has his offensive production dropped off, but his once stellar defensive play and penalty killing ability even seemed to take a hit this season; although that seems to be turning around of late.
The fact of the matter is the Flyers are not a very good team, with little to no hope of making the playoffs. The Flyers are already lacking their second round pick in the deep 2015 NHL draft because of the horrendous Andrew MacDonald trade at last year's deadline, so it would make sense to try to acquire more draft picks in whatever way they can.
Additionally, the Flyers are always in a salary cap struggle and clearing out contracts and cap space would be beneficial. Read is far from the worst culprit (looking at you Andrew MacDonald, Vincent Lecavalier, and RJ Umberger) but the Flyers need to start thinking about the future; namely re-signing Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier and making room for their young blueliners.
The case for keeping Read
As crazy as it sounds, I almost consider placing Read in the loosely labeled "untouchable" bin with Giroux, Voracek, Couturier and Mason. It's not because he's as valuable as they are, but rather that I believe trading Read right now would be the definition of "selling low." Good organizations don't do that. Good organizations should also "sell high" and most certainly not "buy high" by looking to re-sign players playing better than they ever have in their career (ahem, Nick Schultz).
Read has struggled with a high ankle sprain for a large majority of the season. It's been quite noticeable too as the speedy Read has looked awfully slow at times. He's only just getting over it and he's finally starting to look a bit more like the Read of old.
Unless the trade market this year is highly conducive to selling, I'm just not sure Read is going to return proper value in a trade. It likely makes more sense to give him an opportunity to return to his previous level of play that the past three years have shown.
I think you could take the last two paragraphs in "The case for trading Read" subsection and just copy and paste it for any player on the roster. In Read's case, that's pretty much the only case for trading him. He doesn't have a particularly bad contract. He isn't an old player. He just isn't Giroux or Voracek and because the team is bad it warrants considering trading him.
However, there is no doubt that trading Read right now would be selling him at the lowest his value has ever been in the NHL. Last year's deadline was a buyer's market with only Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson, Thomas Vanek and Martin St. Louis as forwards fetching a 2nd round pick or better. Unless the market is quite different this year, I think it makes more sense for the Flyers to take their chances on Read getting back to his previous level of play in 2015-16.