Jeff Cox, a USHL scout, broke the news on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon.
Philadelphia Flyers first round pick Jay O’Brien is in the NCAA Transfer Portal after scoring 2 goals & 3 assists in 25 games during injury riddled freshman season at Providence. Expected to play 2019-20 season in BCHL.— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) April 23, 2019
The portal allows student-athletes to be contacted by other schools in order to pursue a transfer to those institutions and has become a pretty frequent topic in the college football universe in the last calendar year.
But for the O’Brien —and the Flyers— it basically means that he will leave Providence College after his freshman season. The Flyers 19th overall pick in last years NHL Entry Draft struggled in his first college season with just five points (two goals, three assists) in 25 games.
The 19-year-old suffered a myriad of injury issues during the season, adding to the frustration for the promising forward prospect who broke all a bunch of records at Thayer Academy in Massachusetts where the likes of NHL players like Charlie Coyle and Brooks Orpik along with former players Tony Amonte, Ryan Whitney, and Mike Mottau played before eventually making the NHL.
Cox adds that O’Brien will play for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL during the upcoming season. After a season in the BCHL, O’Brien could look for another opportunity at another school in the college ranks.
The path isn’t unprecedented for a Flyers prospect, as Matej Tomek took a similar path a few years ago by leaving North Dakota to play a season in the USHL before returning to the college ranks at Nebraska-Omaha.
O’Brien is a skilled player that former GM Ron Hextall was high enough on to spend the second of his closely guarded first rounds picks on instead of dealing the pick for more immediate roster help. That decision doesn’t look great now as the Flyers were possibly a veteran piece away from a playoff berth in what has turned out to be a wild 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff so far.
The other first rounder from the 2018 draft is of course Joel Farabee, who signed his entry level contract a little earlier this year.
The Flyers will continue to try and get the most out of the investment that was made on O’Brien, and while patience was always going to be the case with him from the get-go, it appears even more will be needed.
This story will be updated as more information comes available.