The Flyers locked up another piece of their core Friday night.
The Orange and Black came to terms with Matt Read on a four-year contract extension worth $14.5 million. The average annual value (AAV) – a.k.a. cap hit – is $3.625 million per season. Read’s contract extension will kick in after the 2013-14 season ends.
Read, 27, is entering the third and final year of his entry-level deal, which paid him $900,000 per season. Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren spoke with Flyers’ insider Anthony SanFilippo about the new deal.
“We’re excited and happy we finally got this done,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “This has been going on for the better part of the summer. We’re happy, and I’m sure Matt’s happy. He’s one of the young, core players on our team.”
Read’s path to the National Hockey League is one not usually taken by professional ice hockey players. After Read finished his senior year at Bemidji State University, the Flyers signed him as a free agent. Read made the final roster out of training camp, and in the second game of the season, he scored his first N.H.L. goal against Martin Brodeur.
Read led all rookies with 24 goals and was in the Calder Trophy conversation for the league’s top rookie. He finished the season with 47 points in 79 games. During the
2012-13 2013 season, Read became one of the few bright spots on the squad. He led the team in scoring until a rib injury sidelined him for two weeks. Read rushed himself back to help the team fight for a playoff spot, but his production fell, and he never got himself back into a scoring groove.
While Read has shown a niche to score – 36 goals, 36 assists for 71 points in 121 games – his all-around game has impressed many. Read has played in every situation asked of him and has succeeded in almost every one.
“Coming out of college a couple years ago, Matt was a guy who jumped right into our lineup and scored 24 goals,” Holmgren said. “Now he plays regularly on the power play, he kills penalties, he plays 4-on-4… in short he’s a valuable part of our hockey team and it’s nice to have him under contract for the next five seasons.”
The Flyers should be thankful to have come to reasonable terms with Read. Players like David Clarkson, who received a generous seven-year $36.75 million deal from the Toronto Maple Leafs, can affect the player market in a negative way. Remember when the Flyers had Matt Carle locked up and then the Calgary Flames overpaid Dennis Wideman?
With a player of Read’s caliber and versatility, this contract is a win-win for both sides. Read’s talent gives the Flyers more stability at forward and reinforces the depth of the first three lines. While Read may have hit his peak in production, he is still a 200-foot threat, which is very hard to find these days.
You can follow Matt Read on Twitter @MReader24.