In order to solve their goaltending woes, the Philadelphia Flyers may include forward Matt Read in an offseason trade to acquire Los Angeles’ Jonathan Bernier.
Would shipping away the 27-year old centerman be a smart move for Philadelphia, though?
In what was a bleak and forgetful season, the Flyers experienced the most success when Read was at his best. In games that he scored in, Philadelphia went 7-2, including two wins over the Boston Bruins. Now there obviously was a lot of other variables that came into play during those seven wins, but there’s no denying the fact that Read is a valuable asset on this team.
Despite the lockout-shortened season, Read kept pace with his 2011-12 scoring total. In his first season with the Flyers, the 5’10” Canadian racked up 47 points with 24 goals and 23 assists. In 42 games played this year, Read collected 24 points on 11 goals and 13 assists. Had the 2012-13 season went all 82 games, he more than likely would have finished with 45-50 points.
There are many teams around the NHL that would love to have a 50-point centerman on their third, or even second, line. This is why his name is being brought up so often in trade rumors.
Adding to his value is his contract, which will only have a $900,000 cap hit on the 2013-14 payroll. For that price and for that level of production, Read is a tremendous trade chip for Philadelphia.
While it may hurt a little to see Read playing somewhere else next season, it’s a move the Flyers have to make. They’ve suffered through too many years in which they’re goaltending failed them down the stretch.
Steve Mason is definitely an improvement over the likes of Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton, and while it’s clear he wants to be a starter, Philadelphia may not want to enter the upcoming season with just Mason in net. Bringing in Bernier, a goalie who will only be 25-years old in August, will give the Flyers someone who has a lot to prove, but the skillset to become one of the top goalies in the league when given the starting role. All while having a young and reliable backup goalie (even if for just one season).
Read the scouting reports on Bernier, you’ll find lots of comments with the phrase: “can steal a game.” When was the last time the Flyers had someone between the pipes who could do that?
When measuring the loss of Read and the addition of Bernier, it’s the possibility of landing the goalie of the future that greatly outweighs the loss of a talented, but nothing special 27-year old centerman who more than likely will be hard to re-sign for Philadelphia when his contract is up after next season.