There's no doubt Matt Read had a very disappointing season last year. A guy the Philadelphia Flyers usually count on for speed and 20 goals scored only eight goals. More than that, he just looked slow. At 28 years old, he was too young to be over the hill.
It made a lot of sense when news emerged that he was essentially playing the season hurt. The lack of production hurt the team, but you can't blame the guy for doing what he could to play through it. Of course, this creates the natural expectation that the following, healthy, season will be a return to form.
Thus far, the 2015-16 season hasn't been any more productive for Read. Presumably healthy, and noticeably quicker, the points have not come. This chart tells most of the story.
The chart seems to present the picture of a player who continues to slide downwards for his career. His goal scoring rate is not back to previous season, and his assist rate is now dropping off.
I don't feel like this tells the whole story for Read, however. He has looked healthier this season. He's skating pretty well, and many nights he seems generally effective. Looking one layer deeper, the biggest culprit for the lack of points is shooting percentage.
Many stat guys will look at shooting percentage and largely attribute it to luck. I don't want to completely write it off as such, and perhaps part of last season's dive in Read's shooting percentage can be attributed to his lack of skating creating poorer scoring opportunities.
Read's drop in shooting percentage this year is more difficult to explain away. He's a good four percent lower than previous seasons, and I have no tangible explanation. Further compounding his luck is that his teammates have been worse than ever this season. Even Matt Read's injury last year didn't create such a dive in the shooting percentage of his teammates when Read was on the ice.
While the shooting percentage statistics create a good case for Read being the victim of bad luck so far this season, the possession numbers may make an even stronger case.
Matt Read is playing the best hockey of his career according to Corsi possession indicators. His Corsi percentage is significantly higher than any previous season, even when he was scoring 20 goals. That speaks to his two-way effectiveness this season.
In addition to two-way efficiency, the raw volume of team shot attempts when Read is on the ice is also higher than ever. His Corsi-for is also significantly higher than previous high-scoring seasons for Read.
Perhaps the coup-de-grace for explaining Read's lack of production this season is his teammate-relative Corsi percentage.
This chart shows that Read's effect on his teammates when he is on the ice is dramatically higher than ever.
Matt Read is currently on pace to have the least productive season of his career. My eyes don't see him playing that way, and the charts above support what the eyes see.
I hate simply writing things off to luck, but the shooting percentages of Matt Read individually and for on-ice teammates are simply too low to continue. The data shows a guy who is playing very well. I'm not sure what Hakstol said to Read and his linemates yesterday, but by my reckoning Matt Read is having a bounce-back season. The goals and points just don't show it yet.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter@SuperScrub47.
It's another week with one win and two losses for the Flyers. A 1-0-2 week is certainly a lot better than the ones of recent memory, but the team is still struggling for points in the standings and goals on the ice.
Miss anything on Flyerdelphia from this week? We have it all for you here.
Thanks to a two-goal effort from Kevin Sundher -- his second and third of the season, respectively -- the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday handily beat the Providence Bruins, 4-1.
The Phantoms (7-8-1) entered the game with a three-point lead over the Bruins for seventh in the eight-team Atlantic Division, and the Bruins' losing streak has now stretched to seven games. Friday's contest was the third of six meetings between both teams this season, with the Phantoms now taking a 2-1 series lead.
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to play much better hockey, although another result slipped through their fingers. Two nights after seeing a lead slip away late, the Flyers couldn't find the back of the net and eventually succumbed in overtime to the San Jose Sharks, 1-0.