While many clubs have limited their spending to comply with the new $64 million cap ceiling this summer, your Philadelphia Flyers have not allowed the new restrictions to affect the way they manage their roster. Entering a season in which several key Flyers were nearing the end of the respective deals, General Manager Paul Holmgren has slowly been knocking them off, one by one.
Up first, of course, was team captain, and face of the franchise, Claude Giroux, who received a whopping 8-year $66.2 million contract. That was followed by Sean Couturier’s modest 2-year $3.5 million extension. And now, versatile forward Matt Read has a received a 4-year $14.2 million pact.
It’s obvious that the Flyers brass has a ton of confidence in the core that they’ve assembled (especially up front), and they’re proving that they will do what it takes to keep the club together. In fact, Read was believed to be the most difficult to retain, because, unlike Giroux, Couturier, or Brayden Schenn (next in line for a deal), Read would have been an unrestricted free agent after this season; meaning he could’ve walked away without the Flyers receiving any sort of compensation.
What makes Matt Read such a valuable piece of the puzzle in Philadelphia is, without a doubt, his versatility. The Bemidji State product is essentially a jack of all trades. He’s a solid two-way forward who can kill penalties, quarterback the power-play, and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the corners. Over the course of 121 NHL games, he has managed 71 points (.59pts/gm). Read also has the ability to switch between center and wing, though he mostly plays on the outside.
With Read on board for the foreseeable future, the Flyers can now direct their attention to re-signing third-year pro Brayden Schenn. Although Holmgren and the front office may want to wait and see how Schenn produces this season. After all, he’s been a streaky player throughout his short career. There is considerable risk with this approach, however, as Schenn could have a breakout season and raise his price-tag considerably.
Overall, the announcement of Read’s new contract is a pleasant surprise, to say the least. His place is now cemented among the likes of Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Hartnell, Lecavalier, Talbot, Couturier, Streit, Coburn, Grossmann, and (Luke) Schenn, as players who are locked up in Philadelphia for atleast three more seasons. Over the past few years, it has become obvious to even the most ardent Flyers critics that this franchise is committed to building a Stanley Cup contender the right way. And Holmgren prioritizing young talent, like Matt Read, certainly exemplifies that organizational philosophy.