EDINA -- Matt Read says he doesn't consider himself a full-blooded Minnesotan yet. But considering his pedigree -- and now his future -- membership in that club may not be too far behind.
Read, a former Bemidji State University star, signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Wild on July 30 and will come to training camp ready to compete for a job on the NHL roster this fall.
A four-year member of the Beavers who helped lead BSU to the Frozen Four in 2009, Read was raised just outside Windsor, Ontario but has lived in Minnesota ever since he went to school here. Read first fell in love with Minnesota summers following his freshman season at Bemidji.
"I brag about how beautiful the summers are," Read told Wild.com. "I love it here. Everything is great; great golf, great fishing, just a great spot to live. I'm excited to live at home this year."
Read and his wife, Erin, reside in Arden Hills and have been married for four years. They met at Bemidji State and moved back here after school was done. Even in the years Read played for the Philadelphia Flyers, it was the north metro to which he and Erin would return in the offseason.
If Read makes the NHL club out of training camp, he won't have far to travel during the season.
"I'm looking forward to having something near home here," Read said. "My wife and I have lived here for the last 10 or 11 years, went to school here and I'm just excited the Wild have given me an opportunity."
Read, who turned 32 in June, provides the Wild with another right-handed shot up front and has a history of providing some offense from the bottom six. A two-time 20-plus goal scorer early in his career with the Flyers, Read tallied 24 goals and 47 points in 79 games as a rookie in 2011-12.
Two years later, Read scored 22 goals and posted 40 points in 75 games.
In 437 NHL games over the past seven seasons, Read has 87 goals, 100 assists and is a plus-2. He skated in just 19 games with the Flyers last season, which capped a four-year, $14.5 million contract he signed prior to the 2014-15 season.
Coming off a multi-year deal and with no concrete offers on July 1, Read said it was difficult to be patient, but understood he had no choice but to wait for an opportunity to present itself.
And what better place than his adopted home to try and get his career back on track?
"The last couple years I'd say didn't go my way. My ice time started to decrease, role started to decrease. I feel like my game hasn't changed at all; they just wanted to give young guys opportunities, and it was time to move on," Read said of his time with the Flyers. "Hockey is all about the opportunities that you get and what you do with them. Now that I can move on to a new opportunity, hopefully I can find my role early and have a great year."
After playing in 33 AHL games in the AHL last season, his first stint in that league in seven years, Read said he learned a lot about himself and a lot about his desire to succeed.
"I had a humbling, tough season last year," Read said. "I spent four months in a hotel with my family back in Philadelphia, which wasn't ideal. I would say I fell in love with the game even more. I have a greater appreciation now of what hockey means in my life and I'm willing to do anything I can to make sure that if that opportunity comes my way, I'm going to do what I can to put my right foot forward, work as hard as I can and do whatever I can so they don't turn me down on the spot."
This summer, Read has been a regular at Da Beauty League, where he's been able to skate with a number of potential future teammates, including Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, Nate Prosser and Alex Stalock, among others.
It's something he hopes becomes a habit during the fall and winter months ahead.
"You find the right chemistry with someone and things can happen quickly. You gain some confidence back, and who knows? I could have another 20-goal season," Read said. "I've got another opportunity. Hopefully, I can start on the right foot and find something right away and run with it."