According to Leafs PR Twitter account, the Leafs have signed former Philadelphia Flyer Matt Read to a professional tryout (PTO) agreement:
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) August 2, 2019
As shown in the photo from Twitter, the 33-year-old played some time in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild last season, but most of his season was with the AHL affiliate Iowa Wild. In 61 games in the AHL, Read scored 37 points in 61 games. During 12 games in the NHL with Minnesota, he scored just one point.
For a professional tryout, Read isn’t officially part of the roster. He will participate in training camp with the rest of the team, and play in some preseason games, however, he has no impact on the roster. This is not a contract, but an official audition. Since the Leafs have 48 contracts out of a maximum 50, with Mitch Marner still without a contract. As such, signing Read would be a remote possibility at best. It will take a very impressive training camp for him to earn a roster spot.
The more likely reason for signing this is one of two things: a professional favour or a warm body. It’s possible that someone in the Leafs organization is friends with Read or Read’s agent and has agreed to this tryout with no intention of signing the player, but instead to give him a platform to try out for other teams. It’s also possible that the Leafs are hoping Read will be an extra player that can rotate in during the preseason to avoid any fatigue for the actual team come regular season time.
That said, Read is an admirable player and did well during his time with the Flyers. Whether age has caught up to him, or he has simply been outperformed in particular situations, is unclear.