#27. John McFarland | LW | Sudbury (OHL)
Date of Birth: April 2nd, 1992 Height: 6.00 Weight: 192lbs. Shoots: R Season Statistics: Regular Season | 64GP 20G 30A 50P 70PIM Playoffs | 4GP 3G 0A 3P 2PIM TSR Midterm Rank: 13 | Position Rank: 19th Forwards League Rank: 9th OHL | Country Rank: 14th Canada
John McFarland’s 2009/2010 could have gone better, but definitely was not the disaster some people made it out to be. However, it was the story of two players. During the months of November and March McFarland registered a measly 3 points in 17 games. During the remaining months of the season he played in 47 games while putting up 47 points.
As a 16 year old McFarland was a player who all but ignored the defensive side of the game. While he has improved in this aspect, his dedication to the defensive game is still a ways behind where it should be for a player of his caliber. One thing McFarland does do well is play with a chip on his shoulder and he can throw some hits which definitely change the tone of games. However he seems to prefer to avoid contact when he has the puck on his stick.
McFarland’s skating ability definitely sets him apart from most other prospects in the draft. His explosiveness is among the best in the draft and when he hits his top speed not many defenders in the OHL can keep up with him. However he seems reluctant to use his speed to get to the inside. As such he is easily contained to the outside by most defencemen. This issue is likely caused by one of the biggest drawbacks in McFarlands game, his hockey sense is questionable for a player of his caliber. Defensively he can often be found making bad reads and will often try to cheat to the point and look for the breakout pass before it can materialize. Offensively he tends to lack creativity often attempting to go around defenders with the same toe-drag move time after time.
As far as the rest of his offensive skillset goes he does have the ability to move the puck to his teammates, he does at times however hold onto the puck for too long. Both his wristshot and slapshot have NHL power behind them, every time the puck comes off his stick its high and hard, however he can often be seen missing the net because of this.
The biggest intrigue with McFarland is the fact he seems to always play to the level of his linemates, always stepping up his game when brought to the hockey Canada stage and rarely disappointing. However he has shown that he can easily be knocked off his game at times and as such he needs to learn to keep his mind on the game.
One thing that will likely aid McFarland’s falling draft stock is his recent performance at the NHL combine. McFarland performed exceptionally well in many categories.
Pros: Excellent skating ability, extremely explosive, can play a physical game, demonstrates elite offensive skills
Cons: Lack of focus, consistency issues, lack of hockey sense, needs to hit the net more
Skillset comparison: Grittier Nikolai Zherdev