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T-Birds eliminated, O'Brien expected in Bingo


The WHL's Seattle Thunderbird were eliminated from the playoffs with a 5-3 loss to the Spokane Chiefs last night, meaning that Senators' prospect James O'Brien is expected to be assigned to the Binghamton Senators for their AHL playoff run.

O'Brien, who looks a fair bit like Gael Garcia Bernal in the above photo, had a regrettably unimpressive playoff series with the T-Birds this year. He finished with one point and no assists in five games, was a -4, and had 10 penalty minutes. Quite a step down from his performance last season, where he had eight points (2G, 6A) in 12 games. On the plus side, a scouting report from Silver Seven contributor Matthew suggested that he might just be bored with the WHL:

Overall, and keep in mind this may be highly colored by the total team effort from last night, but JOB seems like a player who is bored at the WHL level. He obviously has specific skills that are at least AHL-level, but what worries me is that for someone who should be making the pro jump, I feel he should be a presence on the ice at the WHL-level and the last couple times I have watched him, he hasn’t been. And it’s the playoffs, man! I don’t see him making mistakes, but I don’t see him dominating either. I’m left with giving him AHL-passable grades on his skills, but question marks on his makeup.

His regular season totals were significantly up from last season, at least, and the B-Sens could certainly use some offensive help right now: They've scored four goals in their last four games (still somehow getting two shootout victories and two losses) due in at least some part to injuries to Josh Hennessy and Peter Regin, as well as the losses of Brendan Bell, Brian Lee, and Ryan Shannon to the O-Sens.

Here's O'Brien's career WHL stats:

Season GP G A P +/- PIM
2007-08 Regular season 70 21 34 55 22 66
2007-08 Playoffs 12 2 6 8 4 14
2008-09 Regular Season 63 27 35 62 16 55
2008-09 Playoffs 5 1 0 1 -4 10