Minnesota Wild: 2018-19 Season Preview of Matt Read

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 25: Matt Read #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on prior to a face-off against the Minnesota Wild on February 25, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 25: Matt Read #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on prior to a face-off against the Minnesota Wild on February 25, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Our countdown to the Minnesota Wild preseason is winding down as we are now at 10 days until puck drop. Today, we look at free agent signee Matt Read.

On July 30,2018 veteran forward Matt Read signed a one year deal to join the Minnesota Wild for the upcoming season. In a bottom 6 forward mix that has gotten extremely crowded this summer, we’ll project what to expect from the 32-year old 7 year NHL veteran.


Matt Read did not take the common route of most Canadian hockey players, as he was not drafted or signed to the CHL and instead had to pursue his hockey career from the Junior A level, which is not deeply scouted from the NHL.

After missing out on his would-be NHL draft year, Read moved his career south across the American border where he spent a season in Des Moines, IA with the USHL. The following year Read took his game to the NCAA level as a member of Bemidji State University

While with Bemidji, Matt Read was consistently among the top goal and point scorers for the team. In his sophomore year, Read was the leading point scorer as the team was among the Frozen Four in the NCAA Tournament. Read was named to the NCAA All-Star, All-Academic, and All-Tournament teams for his season performance.

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He finished 4 years at Bemidji State with 143 points (65G, 76A) in 147 games, and was immediately signed to an NHL entry-level contract at the completion of his senior year. The Philadelphia Flyers immediately assigned Read to report to their AHL affiliate for the remainder of the season.

Matt Read showed up to his rookie NHL training camp ready to fight for what he had earned, and did not disappoint. Read made the Flyers roster to start the regular season, and proceeded to notch 24 goals and 47 points through 79 games as a rookie. Good enough to land 4th in Calder Trophy voting at the end of the year.

In the 6 years that Read spent as a Flyer, Read was largely counted on as a goal scorer and earned plenty of time on the top line alongside stars Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. He managed two 20 goal seasons early in his career, along with 11 goals in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, before regressing to a modest 10 goals per season.

Last season, Read found himself on the outside of the Philadelphia roster more often than not. He went unclaimed on waivers in preseason, returned to the team for a brief 2 month stint spent mostly as a healthy scratch, and then cleared waivers again to be reassigned to the AHL. In March he made his return to the team and lasted through the first round playoff loss.

Read is also a skilled penalty killer, who finished 2013-14 tied for 3rd in the NHL with 4 shorthanded goals. In last year’s first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Read was credited with the resurgence of the Flyers penalty kill and stifling the potent Penguins power play.

Season Outlook

None of that was enough to renew his career in Philadelphia, and so Read decided to take the offer from the Minnesota Wild and return to the state where he played 4 years in college.

Perhaps there is something there, Read is on the back end of a short and underwhelming NHL career, but there is some value to a player who’s most useful trait is his ability to nullify an opposing teams power play.

At this point, that is the only way I see there being an NHL roster spot available for Matt Read. The penalty kill for Minnesota last season was middle of the road, finishing 13th among all teams at 81%. With top penalty killer Daniel Winnik gone in free agency, the Wild will need someone to step up and fill that void.

In order to get penalty kill time though, Read needs to find a spot among the Top 12 forwards which could prove difficult. The top 6 are set, and I don’t see any way that changes outside of a blockbuster trade. The bottom 6 is a little more open, but there are currently 10 players battling for those 6 spots.

Read’s biggest asset is that he has proven capable of providing scoring at the NHL level, and secondary scoring is a desperate need of the Minnesota Wild. If he can find the player he was in 2013-14, and perhaps some line chemistry, then the Wild may have found a diamond in the rough.

More likely, though, he is a depth addition as an NHL ready forward that can step in from Iowa at a moment’s notice. Read will battle for a roster spot through training camp, but barring a fantastic camp I think he is just too far down the depth chart to get noticed.

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Expectations should be low for Read this season. He should be among the first to get the call when injury dictates a call-up, and may even excel in limited time with the Minnesota Wild. I’d project a slight increase from last year’s statistical anomaly to say we could see about 10 points in 20-25 games for the former Bemidji State Beaver.