Two years ago, Matt Read was a little-known rookie making his professional hockey debut with the Philadelphia Flyers. Today, he’s managed to become one of the Flyers most valued forwards, and his skill has attracted the attention of other teams as well.
Read was picked up as a free agent at 25 years old after playing four years at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. The move received little attention amongst Flyers fans, and was virtually ignored across the NHL. By the end of his rookie season, Read had tallied 24 goals and 23 assists, totaling 47 points in 79 games. In November of 2011, just two months into his NHL career, Read scored a goal in five straight games. He was quickly making a name for himself amongst the Flyers organization.
Glancing at Reads statistics from the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, one might say he suffered from a sophomore slump. In 42 games, Read registered 11 goals and 13 assists, totaling 24 points. In actuality, he remained consistent with his rookie season. His points-per-game for the 2011-12 season stood at .59. He finished the 2012-13 season averaging .57 points-per-game. All the while, Read was playing with a torn muscle in his rib.
Given his stats, Read has been more consistent (although he has not registered as many points) than captain Claude Giroux. In 2011-12, Giroux averaged 1.2 points-per-game. During the 2012-13 season, Giroux averaged one point-per-game. Does Read have room to improve? Absolutely, as most players do. But to say his play during the lockout-shortened season indicates a sophomore slump is simply incorrect.
At 27-years-old, Read is not your typical third year player. He’s much older than 20-year-old and fellow third year player Sean Couturier. If Read can remain healthy, you can expect his scoring to increase from his rookie and sophomore campaigns.