Liam O’Brien


Halifax Nova Scotia

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:








Free agent signing, 2014


205 lbs.

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2009-10: Liam O’Brien played for the Telus Cup champion Notre Dame Hounds midget AAA team in Saskatchewan. He scored 13 goals with 25 assists and 98 penalty minutes in 41 regular season games. In 13 playoff games he scored 4 goals with 3 assists and 30 penalty minutes. O’Brien scored his only goal of the Telus Cup in the championship game, breaking a 2-2 tie in the third period of the championship game against Mississauga Reps as Notre Dame won its second straight Telus Cup. He was selected by Rimouski in the first round (10th overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft and by Sioux Falls in the 20th round (296th overall) in the USHL Entry Draft.

2010-11: O’Brien skated in the QMJHL as a 16-year-old — playing in 61 of 68 regular season games for the Rimouski Oceanic — and represented Canada Atlantic in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 2 goals with 8 assists and was minus-8 with 45 penalty minutes. Rimouski finished fifth in the East Division and lost to Gatineau in the first round of the playoffs. O’Brien was minus-1 with no points and 6 penalty minutes in five playoff games. In five games for Canada Atlantic at the WHC he scored 1 goal with 1 assist and 8 penalty minutes.

2011-12: O’Brien returned to Rimouski for his second QMJHL — before being acquired by Rouyn-Noranda in January 2012 in a draft deadline deal. In 40 games with the Oceanic he score 7 goals with 9 assists and was +4 with 67 penalty minutes. He played 27 regular season games with Rouyn-Noranda and scored 3 goals with 7 assists; finishing minus-17 with 69 penalty minutes. The Huskies finished last in the West Division, with the QMJHL’s third worst record, and were swept by Shawinigan in  a first round series. O’Brien scored 1 goal and was minus-1 with 6 penalty minutes in four playoff games. O’Brien was ranked 169th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings in his first year of draft eligibility but was not selected in the 2012 NHL Draft.

2012-13: O’Brien attended the Pittsburgh Penguins’ development camp in the summer before returning to Rouyn-Noranda for his first full season with the Huskies. An assistant captain, he scored 10 goals with 14 assists and was minus-12 with 164 penalty minutes in 65 regular season games. Rouyn-Noranda finished second in the West Division and reached the QMJHL semifinals. O’Brien scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was +2 with 17 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games.

2013-14: O’Brien skated for the Penguins rookie team at the pre-season tournament in London but was not signed to a contract and returned to Rouyn-Noranda for his fourth QMJHL season. The Huskies’ team captain, he skated in all 68 regular season games. He scored 20 goals with 15 assists and was minus-11; leading the Huskies with 148 penalty minutes. Six of his 20 goals were scored on the power play. Rouyn-Noranda finished fifth in the West Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. O’ Brien scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was minus-2 with 12 penalty minutes.


Talent Analysis

O'Brien is a prototypical energy player who provides some grit and physicality that has been missing from the Capitals lineup. O'Brien isn't likely to score many goals, but he can contribute in other ways.

O'Brien was invited to Washington's camp as a free agent and was signed to a three-year entry-level contract by the Capitals in October 2014. After opening the 2014-15 season with Washington and appearing in 12 games he suffered a lower body injury in November. He played in one more game with the Capitals before being assigned to AHL affiliate Hershey. Long-term O'Brien does not appear to have a huge upside in terms of offensive ability. His calling card will likely be his hustle, hard work in tough areas, and ability to stand up for teammates when called upon to do so.

(Video) First NHL Goal: Capitals’ O’Brien nets first in loss to Canucks

by Ken McKenna
Liam O'Brien - Washington Capitals

Photo: Washington Capitals rookie forward Liam O’Brien captained the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)


It’s been a weekend for unheralded players netting their first NHL goals. On Saturday, it was the Arizona CoyotesJustin Hodgman, and on Sunday night it was Washington Capitals‘ free agent signee Liam O’Brien who lit an NHL lamp for the first time in a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Read more»

NHL Prospects Roundup: Lindholm hat trick highlights final weekend of NHL preseason

by Ken McKenna
Elias Lindholm - Carolina Hurricanes

Photo: Carolina Hurricanes prospect Elias Lindholm (C) is congratulated by Victor Rask and Riley Nash on Lindholm’s hat trick goal in Friday’s preseason game (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire)


The 2014 NHL preseason is now in the books with the 30 NHL clubs now focusing on the start of the 2014-15 regular season that begins on Wednesday night. The final weekend of preseason action provided a few notable NHL prospect performances, but the real test for these young players begins in two days. Read more»