The Toronto Maple Leafs have added some more veteran depth for training camp, signing Matt Read to a professional tryout. Read spent last season in the Minnesota Wild organization, though most of his actual playing time came at the minor league level.
Now 33, Read has had quite the tumultuous last few seasons. Signed to a four-year, $14.5MM extension by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013, he responded brilliantly with a 22-goal, 40-point campaign in 2013-14. Read looked like he might be one of the best undrafted college free agents in history, but things quickly fell off a cliff. He scored just 30 NHL goals in the following four seasons combined, and found himself in the minor leagues with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to finish his time in the Flyers organization.
Agreeing to a one-year, two-way deal with Minnesota last season he must have known he was headed for the minor leagues once again. Read was an excellent leader for the Iowa Wild, scoring 37 points in 61 games and helping them to the first playoff appearance in franchise history. It’s surprising that the team wouldn’t bring him back, but perhaps Read believes the Maple Leafs provide a bigger opportunity.
Whether that opportunity really exists is unclear. The Maple Leafs have brought in a huge number of NHL forwards to compete for just a few spots at the bottom of the roster, including names like Pontus Aberg, Nick Shore, Garrett Wilson, Kenny Agostino and Kalle Kossila. Read provides just another option for Mike Babcock and the Maple Leafs’ coaching staff, and Toronto could perhaps be a path to redemption for the winger.