In what seems to be a rerun of last summer, we’re once again covering the theme of whether or not can Matt Read bounce back to his early career form? Of course, his struggles in 2014-15 were attributed to an ankle injury that left him limited in terms of skating ability and therefore caused the drop in goal scoring.
This of course lead to the 2015-16 season, where Read would score only 11 goals and saw his assist total drop to 15, setting yet another career low for points in an 82 game season.
Via Own the Puck
Via Own the Puck
As the above charts show (Author’s Note: read them right to left, the years are in reverse order), Read’s scoring rates have dropped fairly regularly since entering the league in 2012. He’s gone from scoring a top line rate while having solid suppression numbers to now scoring at a 4th line rate while having third line impact on possession. The one positive is that his possession numbers rebounded from an abysmal 2014-15 season. If the finger injury in 2016 limited his ability to shoot it’s possible that if he’s healthy he may rebound to the 18-22 goal range.
However, the elephant in the room here is Read’s age. At age 30, decline is expected to set in and injuries will likely only speed up the process. While it’s in theory possible that Read gets himself back to his old scoring rates, the realism of the situation is that Read probably will not. A Matt Read bounce back season will likely see his scoring numbers level off in the mid-teens for goals and his teammates may be able to help pull his assist total back into the low 20s. At the end of the day, Matt Read is likely a 30-35 point player even if healthy.
Finally, after two injury riddled seasons in a row, hopefully all parties involved have learned not to keep sending him onto the ice while injured. If something pops up again this season, the Flyers would be wise to get Read a stint on injured reserve early in the hopes of stopping the age decline. Exciting prospects like Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Taylor Leier and even potentially Roman Lyubimov, due to CHL-NHL rules, could be called up or Scott Laughton and Jordan Weal could even find a full time spot in the role vacated by an injured Matt Read. Finally, Travis Konecny is not an option due to the CHL-NHL transfer rules, so he’s not a callup option in the event of a Matt Read injury.