By Anthony SanFilippo, PhiladelphiaFlyers.com
If there was any question at all as to whether the Flyers viewed Matt Read as part of their long-term core that was answered in resounding fashion late Friday.
The Flyers and Read agreed on a four-year contract extension that kicks in beginning next season.
The contract is for $14.5 million, or an average annual value of $3.625, which will serve as his cap hit beginning in the 2014-15 season.
“We’re excited and happy we finally got this done,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “This has been going on for the better part of the summer. We’re happy and I’m sure Matt’s happy. He’s one of the young, core players on our team.”
Read, 27, is in the final year of his entry-level contract that is paying him $900,000. Because of his age though, he would have been eligible for free agency after the season.
It was a scenario the Flyers didn’t want to get caught in – bidding against other teams for Read’s services – because they were worried that they could have been outbid by teams who don’t operate as close to the cap as the Flyers do.
And Read has proved with his versatility during his first two NHL seasons that he is worth the lengthy negotiations.
“Coming out of college a couple years ago, Matt was a guy who jumped right into our lineup and scored 24 goals,” Holmgren said. “Now he plays regularly on the power play, he kills penalties, he plays 4-on-4… in short he’s a valuable part of our hockey team and it’s nice to have him under contract for the next five seasons.”
Read has compiled 35 goals and 36 assists for 71 points in 121 career games, and played a decent chunk of last season immediately after have abdominal surgery, which slowed his production for a bit.
Nevertheless, Read has proven he can play anywhere on the top three lines and not miss a beat as a jack-of-all-trades type of forward.
“I’m pretty excited, very happy and pretty relieved,” said Read. “It’s been an ongoing process, but I’m very happy about it. My first two years have been overwhelming for me. Its crazy that I’m even playing in the NHL, but to get this second contract with this organization is a dream come true. I couldn’t be with a better organization and I’m thrilled to be here for a few more years.”
During his rookie campaign in 2011-12, Read led all NHL rookies with 24 goals and also added 23 assists for 47 points in 79 games. In doing so, Read became just the 16th player in Flyers history to record 20 or more goals in his rookie season. The 47 points also ranked fourth among all NHL rookies. Read represented the Flyers in the 2012 NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
At the conclusion of last season, Read was named to the Canadian World Championship team where he had a goal and two assists in eight games.
Read originally signed with the Flyers as a free agent on March 24, 2011 as he wrapped up a four-year career at Bemidji State University in Minnesota (WCHA), where he recorded 43 goals and 65 assists for 108 points in 110 career games.
Following the conclusion of his senior year at Bemidji State, Read played 11 games with the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, to conclude the season.