Marlies Take A Chance On Former First Round Pick

Matt Garland
August 25, 2023  (10:52)

The Toronto Marlies have bolstered their lineup today signing former first round pick Jay O'Brien to a one-year AHL contract.

O'Brien was selected 18th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. Five picks earlier Philadelphia drafted Joel Farabee, who has turned out to be a solid NHLer. Farabee already has a 20 goal season in the books for his young career. Unfortunately for O'Brien things haven't gone as smooth.
It was announced in April that the Flyers will not be signing O'Brien making him a UFA this summer.
The 23 year old O'Brien, was drafted out of high school from Thayer Academy. He scored 24 goals in his first year and followed that up with a 43 goal, 27 assist campaign in 2017-18.
The Hockey Writers went into depth on what they saw from O'Brien heading into the draft.
«He demonstrates both good acceleration and speed and uses it to create space and scoring chances. He can finish as demonstrated by his 43 goals. He also has really good hands. Whether he's unleashing a shot or making a subtle extra move to create a shooting lane, he can do that at top speed and create havoc for opponents.

The obvious question that comes up with O'Brien is the level of competition he played against. We got a small glimpse of that at both the prospect's game and when he played for the USDP. He played a game against Michigan State where although he didn't score, he made some noticeable plays. He didn't look out of place against more experienced competition. The thing I'd like to see is continued improvement on the defensive end. He has improved there and shown flashes. I just want to see him do it against men. He'll get his chance to do that as his next stop is Providence to play for the Friars in 2018-19.»

O'Brien has spent the last three seasons with Boston University, putting up good numbers but nothing spectacular for a former first round pick.
The signing is a low-risk one for both parties. If O'Brien can find his game in the AHL, different NHL teams could offer him an NHL deal. For the Marlies it's only one-year, and the potential is there to make it work out.
AUGUST 25   |   46 ANSWERS
Marlies Take A Chance On Former First Round Pick

Do you think Jay O'Brien will ever play NHL games?

Yes, still young can get there2758.7 %
No, he's officially a bust36.5 %
Career Minor Leaguer1634.8 %
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