We've all heard the hype surrounding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, we know that Luke Adam was the 2011 AHL Rookie of the Year, and we expected that Adam Larsson would be a horse on the blueline. All of these players are having awesome rookie campaigns, but right now the NHL's rookie goal scoring leader is Matt Read. Which begs the question - who the hell is Matt Read?
Last year at this time Matt Read was a 4th year college kid playing for the Bemidji State Beavers in Minnesota. Many probably haven't heard of Bemidji, but it sure is fun to try and pronounce. Anyways, now Matt Read is out of college and one of the top rookies in the NHL right now for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Read was a late bloomer who settled into being a hockey player at age 14 and earned a hockey scholarship at the age of 21 to Bemidji State. Read isn't the biggest guy out there, standing in at 5'10", 185 pounds, but he led the Beavers in scoring his first 3 seasons and finished 2nd in scoring his senior year. Those stats got him some attention from NHL scouts who also liked his speed and shot.
After his last collegiate game was over at age 24, Read signed a one way, 3 year contract worth $2.7M from the Philadelphia Flyers. You don't see many of those contracts being dealt out to kids straight out of college. The Flyers must have thought he was going to be an important part of the team right away and he didn't disappoint. Read would join the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL to end the season racking up 7 goals and 13 points in 11 games.
Coming into this season many people had no idea who this 25-year-old rookie was, but after TSN's hockey (GOD) analyst, Bob McKenzie, tweeted that Read was his pick for the Calder and hockey fans and fantasy GM's immediately took notice.
So far this season Read have lived up to being McKenzie's choice for the Calder, leading all rookies in goals with 9 and has 14 points so far in 18 games. It's always nice to see guys come out of nowhere and become big time producers in the NHL. I just wish I had grabbed him off waivers in my hockey pool at the beginning of the season before my prick brother did.