Flyers Draft Pick Scouting Report: Jay O’Brien
The Flyers had two picks in Friday night's first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. They used the second pick to select center Jay O'Brien.
Now that O'Brien is one of the newest members of the Flyers, it's time to get to know the Flyers prospect.
Here is a scouting report on O'Brien.
Weight: 176 pounds
Team: Thayer Academy (NEPre)
On the surface, this seemed like a bit of an off the board pick by the Flyers. But then again, nobody expected Morgan Frost to be the pick last year at 27th overall when the Flyers traded up and he was one of the most productive players in the OHL last season.
O'Brien was a riser in the draft rankings and considered a bit of a sleeper pick. He's got a good amount of skill to his game and is dangerous in the scoring areas. He scored 43 goals and had 80 points in 30 games with Thayer Academy. His puck skills are the best aspect of his game at this point and can be a great playmaking.
Like Joel Farabee, he needs to work on his size and strength, but he's an explosive skater with the playmaking skills to be creative in the offensive zone and make things happen. He's not near as polished in the defensive zone as Farabee is, but can work on those areas of his game over time. He seemed like he fit right in with the USA National Development Team after spending most of the year with Thayer. Confidence is a big part of his game and he showcases it well in his decision-making and compete level.
Overall, O'Brien is a player who has a high ceiling, but is more of a work in progress than other first-rounders. He's got the potential to be a second-line player, but he may be a better third-line fit. Regardless, this is one of those picks for the Flyers where scouts see the potential and what could be for O'Brien. If he lives up to full potential, this is going to be a solid pick.
O'Brien also compared his playing style to Jake Guentzel, just like Farabee, and also noted that he has always looked at Claude Giroux as one of his idols.
What Scouts Say
"Good skater. Great control of his edges can accelerate quickly in tight spaces. Great hands. Can stickhandle and control puck in traffic. Uses his body well to protect the puck against bigger players. Quick release, accurate shooter. Finds players in space. Has a good feel for the ice. Has some coverage issues in the defensive zone. Good prospect, with high-end offensive skill." -- Nick Marra, ISS Hockey Scout
“He’s been very good for me every time I’ve seen him this year. Besides size, I like everything about him. A really good skater, really smart, really good skill, he can make plays, he’s going to score, he shows up every game and competes really hard. He’s a pretty safe bet for a high school player." -- Recrutes
"Starting at the All American Prospects Game I liked his game. I followed up with some viewings of him playing with the USNTDP and thought he was really good with limited ice. In his prep games he had more time and space and it allowed me to see his skill. He’s smart and although not huge, he has skill and works hard. I’m a big fan." Mark Edwards, HockeyProspect.com