Wednesday: Not so fast, apparently. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke to O’Brien, who confirmed he is leaving Providence but denied that he’s heading to the BCHL. The young forward has not yet decided where he will play next season.
Tuesday: It was a frustrating season for Philadelphia Flyers prospect Jay O’Brien, who struggled through injury during his freshman year at Providence College. It now seems as though he’ll be playing in a new league, as Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal reports that O’Brien is in the transfer portal and is expected to play in the BCHL next season. O’Brien would be ruled out of NCAA play in 2019-20 if he transferred to a new school.
O’Brien, 19, recorded just two goals and five points in 25 games for Providence, not exactly the season he was expecting after the Flyers selected him 19th overall last June. While that was a bit higher than many expected—Bob McKenzie of TSN for instance had O’Brien 34th in his final rankings—it’s not like he was a completely off-the-board pick. The offensive forward had dominated the high school level, but was relatively unproven given his lack of playing time with the USNTDP. He did make the cut as a member of Team USA at the most recent World Juniors, but failed to record a single point in seven games.
Cox reports that O’Brien will likely play for the Penticton Vees, a legendary BCHL program that has recently produced NHL players like Ryan Johansen, Troy Stecher, Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro, and has a history that includes names like Paul Kariya, Duncan Keith and Brett Hull.
The Flyers could also sign O’Brien and bring him into the organization, but if they don’t wish to do that at this point they will still retain his exclusive negotiating rights. They will hold these until June 1st, 2022 even if he leaves school early.