The curious case of Jay O’Brien now has its conclusion. The Flyers and O’Brien will be parting ways without a contract, allowing the young forward to become a free agent. Philadelphia will receive a complementary second round pick in this upcoming draft.
It was Elliotte Friedman who reported the news on Sportsnet on Saturday night’s broadcast.
"“I have heard that the decision had been made that the Flyers will not sign him. That allows O’Brien to test free agency. He’s 23-years-old, he can pick which organization he wants to play for. And the Flyers, as a result, will get a second round pick in the upcoming draft. But O’Brien will not be a Flyer.”"
It has been an up and down journey for O’Brien during his collegiate career. He was first attending Providence College in 2018-19. Injuries derailed his season as he posted just five points in 25 games. He would end up transferring to Boston University, however he spend the following season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.
O’Brien seemed to turn things around with the Vees, posting 25 goals and 66 points in 46 games. He came to Boston after that season, but never found the production rate that is to be expected of a first-round pick. He posted a career-high 32 points during his senior season at Boston. Only eight of those points were goals, though.
He was fourth on the team in points, but two of the players above him were freshman. For more reference, Devin Kaplan, the Flyers’ third round pick last year, finished with just nine fewer points. O’Brien did come into the season after offseason hip surgery, but still never progressed in any meaningful way that gave the Flyers hope that he could be a part of the future.
While Friedman mentioned the decision was made, the organization has not confirmed it. The deadline to sign O’Brien is August 15th. If the team waits until that deadline, their second round pick will, of course, move to next season. They only get the pick this year if they make the decision ahead of the draft.
There have been a few recent examples of a situation like this happened. The Minnesota Wild did not sign Filip Johansson by last year’s deadline and received the 56th overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Johansson was the Wild’s first round pick in 2018. Conner Bleackley was drafted by Colorado in 2014, had his rights traded to the Coyotes in 2016 and was later not signed by Arizona. He ended up being taken by the Blues in the 2016 Draft.
Johansson is currently playing in Sweden but did sign with the Canucks in 2022 while Bleackley is currently with the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. O’Brien will now join his list as he searches for a team looking to take a chance on him moving forward.