Matt Read: A Veteran Presence at a Rookie Price
In Philadelphia, sports fans know that maintaining a high level of success can require the presence of players who’ve been there before and deep pockets.
But in the case of Matt Read, the Flyers have struck gold with a rookie who not only plays like a seasoned veteran, but is worth well more than the payroll would lead you to believe.
With a current salary of $800,000 and a cap hit of $900,000 per year, Read is quite possibly the best bargain in the NHL.
When the Flyers signed the Bemidji State product to a free agent contract back in March, they knew that he was a skilled player – at the college level
He scored 13 points in 11 games at the end of the Phantoms’ 2010-2011 season, and his performance in Flyers rookie camp was enough to earn him a roster spot when this season began.
There was no guarantee that Read’s skills and talents would transfer over to the NHL, but the Flyers took a chance, and have not looked back since.
Read is currently atop the rookie standings with 16 goals, and third in points with 32.
Comparatively, 2011’s first overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 13 goals, and second overall pick Gabriel Landeskog has 12.
Read is a veteran amongst rookies, with seven years of amateur hockey under his belt.
While most rookies experience hockey at the junior level before they make it to the big time, Read played four years at the collegiate level on top of his two years in junior.
His experience gives him an advantage over his fellow first-year players, but what about various veterans of the game?
At this point in the season, he is producing more than some players with big-time contracts.
Take Shawn Horcoff, for example.
The Edmonton Oilers' captain and center is making $6.5 million this year, and has scored only 25 points.
Or Mike Cammalleri, recently traded to the Calgary Flames, who has scored only 24 points while bringing home $6 million this year.
At $900,000 a year, Matt Read is performing at the same level as revered players such as Bobby Ryan and Nathan Horton, who both have 32 points so far on the season and are bringing home at least $4.5 million.
Because Read performs so well at such a low cap hit, it is highly unlikely that the Flyers would consider trading him.
While he would make excellent trade bait, especially at this point in time while the Flyers are seeking defensive help, his skills and production are values that cannot easily be duplicated.
With 32 points in his first 50 NHL games, Read has far surpassed expectations.
His hockey smarts, skill set, and production level all exceed his pay grade.
At a rookie’s salary, he is playing like a seasoned veteran.
Talk about getting a bang for your buck.