2017-18 Player Review: Matt Read, so long to our favorite hockey dad
We’ll actually miss you Reader, unlike some of the others * cough * Mrazek/Filppula.
Nobody was quite sure what to expect when then-Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren signed an undersized college free agent named Matt Read from tiny Bemidji State in March of 2011. What followed was a seven year stay in Philadelphia as a useful, effective player capable of playing in all situations up and down the lineup to the tune of 187 points (87 goals, 100 assists) in 437 games. Current Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has already closed the door on Matt Read’s career in the Orange and Black, but both parties enjoyed far more than they were expecting from the jump.
Read was a bargain on his initial contract, scoring a career-high 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in his rookie campaign in 2011-12 — he finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting that year as the NHL’s top rookie. Two years later he posted his second 40-point season with 22 goals and 18 assists. But that would be the final bargain season for the Flyers as Read earned a new four-year, $14.5 million deal before the 2014-15 campaign that ended up being a slight overpay.
The two-way forward struggled offensively from 2014 through the past season, seeing point totals drop from every year (30 in 2014-15, 26 the following year and 19 the year after) until spending most of this past season with the Phantoms while playing just 19 games with the big club. He scored just one goal in those 19 games, but averaged just under 11 minutes of ice time in a diminished role for coach Dave Hakstol.
Read fell down the depth chart for a variety of reasons with injuries and lack of production at the forefront, but the Flyers emerging prospect pool also help push the veteran from the NHL roster as well. Though Read could have been used given the Flyers’ 29th-ranked penalty kill, he was surpassed by other players and no longer has a place in the organization after a nice run with the club.
By The Numbers
|Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||PIM||Shots on Goal||Shooting Percentage|
Read didn’t produce much during his 19 games with the Flyers during the season, but played in all six playoff games against the Penguins, scoring once and adding an assist to top his regular season point total. He did register 16 points (7G, 9A) in 33 games with the Phantoms, spending time as the designated veteran scratch required by AHL rules.
The veteran averaged just under 11 minutes of ice time, but did average over a minute per game on the penalty kill. Read posted the lowest GA/60 while shorthanded (4.5) on the Flyers if you toss out Travis Sanheim, who averaged just 24 seconds shorthanded per game.
5v5 on-ice stats
|Score-Adjusted Corsi For %||SA-Corsi Relative||Corsi For % RelTM||Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For||SA-Expected Goals Relative||Goals For %||PDO|
As I covered earlier, Read’s possession numbers weren’t all that bad as evidence by his adjusted Corsi For percentage. The problem was that Read’s goal based metrics were awful, and among the worst of any Flyer this season. They weren’t much better in the playoffs, either, despite the uptick in production over his season totals.
5v5 Individual stats
|Points/60||Primary Points/60||Shot Attempts/60||Expected Goals/60|
While Read provided some nice work on the penalty kill, he stopped scoring a few years ago, and that decline in production has led to the loss of his place on the roster as well. The Flyers didn’t have room for a fourth-liner making close to $4 million against the cap and don’t have plans to bring him back in free agency at any number given his decline in the past few years.
Three Burning Questions
1. Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?
Read gets a pass here because we probably expected him to be a plodding bottom six-er and to help out on the penalty kill, but he spent most of the season in Lehigh Valley to nix those ideas. When he returned to the Flyers late in the season he provided valuable penalty kill minutes, as we expected, and his play made most question why he was kept down so long while the penalty kill and bottom six struggled so mightily.
There wasn’t much thought to his scoring production returning given the role that Read was expected to play, and while his possession metrics weren’t all that bad, he scored just once and didn’t have great goal based metrics to peg him as unlucky.
Given how bad the penalty kill, Jori Lehtera, Dale Weise, and Valtteri Filppula were for the better part of the season, it would have been nice Read out there instead honestly.
2. What do we expect from this player next season?
Not much, he won’t be back with the organization at the NHL level.
3. What would we like to see this player improve on?
At 32, there isn’t much for Read to improve upon as he’s a finished product, but he’s been a great teammate and should work to get 100% healthy and go help a team and some young players for a couple years before hanging up the skates.
Though there isn’t room for Matt Read with the Flyers anymore, if he’s healthy, he can be a serviceable bottom six forward who can help kill penalties and move up the lineup if needed.