Matt Read was the pride of the Bemidji State University Beavers. He played four seasons there, from 2007 through the end of the 2010-11 season, and was one of the better forwards in his school's league.
Having traded away numerous picks in recent years, Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren was looking to sign some young talent to help their struggling AHL affiliate, the Adirondack/Philadelphia Phantoms. Holmgren took notice to Read's talent, and on March 24, 2011, Read signed a three-year free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Read played 11 games with the Phantoms last season and tallied 13 points. He then impressed in training camp and immediately made an impression. So much of an impression that on October 5, the Flyers announced that he had made the final roster. Ever since then, he has been raising eyebrows.
In 25 games this season, Read has 11 goals and eight assists, and he has been a big surprise for Philadelphia fans. Like Sean Couturier, most people wouldn't have known anything about him before last year.
While it might be tough to lock up the Calder Memorial Trophy with guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13 goals, 19 assists), Read is still playing well enough to rank fourth among all rookies with 19 points. He trails only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Henrique and Craig Smith.
In this slideshow, I'll list five reasons why I think Matt Read deserves to win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Matt Read has 11 goals on the season so far, which ranks him second in goal scoring among all rookies in the NHL this season. He only trails Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who currently has 13. To put things in better perspective, Read is five goals shy to tie Claude Giroux, the NHL's leading goal-scorer.
He knows how to find the back of the net, and he plays a great two-way game. He's very responsible with the puck and knows where he's got to be on the ice to make the play.
Bottom line, this guy will not have too many low-scoring seasons. I expect Read to put up at least 15 goals a season.
While Matt Read might not be the youngest player in the NHL right now at age 25, he has only just begun to play his professional career.
Read comes to the Flyers at just the right time, losing major offensive talent with the departures of Ville Leino, Kris Versteeg, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the offseason. He's been doing his part on the ice, keeping the Flyers a competitive team.
There is no doubt that he's got a solid career for himself ahead, impressing many people with his mixture of pure goal-scoring and strong defensive play.
This guy has got a bright future ahead, and the Flyers can certainly rely on him to fill any void they might have.
His numbers don't show it, but Matt Read is a great teammate. He's got eight assists on the season, which isn't exactly dazzling; but he's a great set-up man and always seems to be in great position on the ice.
Read seems to gel with just about anybody you put him on the ice with, which only helps the Flyers find their identity even more with so many fresh faces on the roster this season. He's looked comfortable in his role with the Philadelphia Flyers, and he has earned himself a solid spot in the lineup.
If Matt Read were to win the Calder Memorial Trophy, it really shouldn't come as a surprise to many people. After all, it's not like it would be the first award he's won, although it might be his favorite.
Read boasts six separate awards for his outstanding play. Thanks to Wikipedia for the list.
- CHA All-Rookie Team (2007–08)
- CHA Rookie of the Year (2007–08)
- NCAA Frozen Four participant (2008–09)
- CHA Player of the Year (2009–10)
- CHA First All-Star Team (2009-10)
- NCAA West First-Team All-America (2009–10)
Apparently, this wouldn't be the first time he's impressed in a rookie season.
When the Flyers traded away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Philadelphia fans everywhere were ready to jump off a cliff. Then the Flyers let Ville Leino walk and traded Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers. Needless to say, they had gutted their offense.
The Flyers needed a spark. They needed guys that could come in and immediately fill the voids left behind when they let so many of their forwards go. Matt Read has been that guy for the Flyers. Between him and Couturier, they have been phenomenal rookies this year, and have been everything the Flyers needed.
While Read isn't putting up the most points among all rookies, Philadelphia has a special player and they know it. Only time will tell if Read will walk away with the Calder, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen. The season is still young.