With the 30th pick in the 2018 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, the Red Wings take center Jay O’Brien out of the USHS-Prep’s Thayer Academy.
After taking defenseman Adam Boqvist at 6th overall, we decided to take a center with our final 1st round pick. O’Brien had staggering numbers as a senior with the Thayer Academy Tigers (a program that has produced players like Charlie Coyle, Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick), his 43 goals and 80 points were enough to lead the league in scoring. The all-American pivot is set to play with Providence College this upcoming season.
NHL CSS - 32 (NA)
Future Considerations - 40
HockeyProspect.com - 24
Craig Button (TSN) - 38
Weight: 175 lbs
2017-2018 stat line: 30 GP, 80 pts (43-37-80) with Thayer Academy
Dominik Bokk was my lock pick at 30, but he was taken earlier. Since I wanted to take a forward, it wasn’t difficult for me to pick up Jay O’Brien, a prospect who has been grossly underrated in this year’s class. This kid is total workhorse with a toolbox full of skill.
O’Brien can really wheel — his edge work makes tons of space, which makes him difficult to defend. His coach at Thayer, NHL hall-of-famer Tony Amonte calls him a tenacious player who will “chop your leg off” to get the puck if you take it from him. When I watch O’Brien play, I’m really impressed that he doesn’t hesitate to muck it up along the boards to get possession.
He doesn’t have the biggest frame, but his skill compensate for that. With a great release and good skating, it’s tough to see why he isn’t ranked higher. I think one thing that he’ll need to work on if he’s going to be an NHL player is to pass the puck a little better. 43 goals kinda speaks for itself — everyone loves a goal-scorer. I don’t see him as a big-time playmaker as much I do a potential goal-scoring threat.
Another thing, if he’s going to be a center, defensive fundamentals will need to be a priority. Playing in the USHS-Prep pipeline is great, but players like O’Brien are always on the offensive attack. The Red Wings love their centers to be well-versed in playing a complete, two-way game. Luckily for him, he’ll have a great chance to work on those fundamentals in the NCAA.
Stylistically speaking, you could compare O’Brien’s play to that of Tyler Seguin. If he fills out and develops out, there’s a lot of potential in him.
Do you like Jay O’Brien at 30th overall?
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