Read Making His Calder Case
Back on October 4th, TSN’s Bob McKenzie predicted that Philadelphia’s Matt Read would win this year’s Calder Memorial Trophy, the prize awarded to the league’s top rookie.
So far, Read has made an excellent case for himself.
The 25-year-old Bemidji State University product has been turning heads in Philadelphia. After signing a free agent contract with the Flyers in March, he made the roster out of training camp and has been an asset to the team.
In 14 games with the Flyers, he has recorded ten points (five goals, five assists), but his on-ice contributions speak much louder than his numbers on the score sheet.
Read is an all-around player. He creates scoring chances, is solid on defense, and has great control over the puck. That control, in addition to his speed, has led to numerous scoring chances both for him and his teammates.
This was evident throughout the Flyers' last two games.
During Sunday’s matchup with the Florida Panthers, Read skated up along the boards, attempted a shot, then immediately weaved himself through a group of Panthers defenders to plant himself directly in front of the net for a rebound.
Plays like this display Read’s excellent vision.
With his ability to see plays develop, in addition to his speed and control to push the puck up ice, Read has aided in creating offensive opportunites. On the Flyers' second goal on Monday, Read forced a turnover that enabled Max Talbot to give the Flyers a two-goal lead.
But it is Read’s goal in the final minutes of Monday’s game that is the crowning moment thus far in the player’s young career.
With less than four minutes left in the game, Chris Pronger moved the puck into the Hurricanes’ zone, where it was picked up by Jake Voracek. Voracek masterfully placed a pass in front of two ‘Canes players to reach Read. His body going full speed ahead, Read tipped the puck in from his knees, slamming into the boards just seconds later.
That type of willingness to sacrifice his body to score a goal is the kind of thing Flyers fans love to see.
After Sunday’s game against the Panthers, Coach Laviolette told the media that all of the rookies were helping to make the team faster and better. With his speed and skill, Read is at the forefront.
His contributions have not gone unnoticed. David Strehle of NHL Hot Stove tweeted last night that Read “plays like a seasoned vet.” CSN’s Steve Coates echoed a similar sentiment on Post Game Live, saying that Read plays like he’s been in the league for years.
Whether or not McKenzie’s Calder predictions come true, Matt Read is making an early push to keep himself in the conversation.
If Read continues to shine and impress the way he has thus far, he will be a definite shoo-in for consideration.