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I know, I know, there are people out there saying "really? John McFarland? But he's only 18!"
No way Sudbury trades a player with two years left! Uh huh, and we all said the same thing about Peterborough and Zack Kassian last year.
He was the Captain, a premiere power forward, a first-round NHL pick and the Petes had Ryan Spooner and Matt Puempel coming along, there's no way the Petes would trade him, right?
I went looking for this year's Kassian candidate and McFarland's the best option available.
He's never reached his potential in his Sudbury tenure, and his uninspired play last season is crying out for a change of scenery. McFarland, when he's at his best, is an elite skater with a pro-level wrist shot and impressive physical force.
Teams Likely Interested: Kingston, Ottawa, Kitchener, London
Team Likely To Get Him: Will not be traded
Oh Come on, Don't Walk Us to the Edge and Do That!: Fine, Kingston
I really don't think that McFarland will be traded but that doesn't mean that there aren't several opportunities out there for it to happen.
We'll examine the follow-up suitors first. Doesn't this smell like a Hunter-type move? A two-year player, a highly talented but mercurial player with physical upside and a goal scorer's skillset.
London certainly has the pieces to make the deal but they would have to have the incentive in terms of a high place in the standings.
Kitchener? Well there's an interesting possibility. When you're the favourite, you're going to be linked to everybody.
The Rangers will have a spot open if Jeremy Morin isn't returned. John's brother Paul was on the last Kitchener team to win a Memorial Cup and spent most of his OHL career in Kitchener, so the family has some ties to the organization.
Ottawa. I'm just not sold on the 67's. Martindale, Toffoli, Nesbitt and Lindsay make for a good forward corps but not a spectacularly physical one by any standards.
McFarland has had unholy chemistry with Toffoli since they were 14 and playing for the Jr. Canadiens of the GTHL. Like the Knights, the 67's have the pieces.
Finally, Kingston. The Frontenacs need to contend; it's that simple. A division title isn't out of their grasp if they reach for it.
Typically, a top-tier player like McFarland wouldn't agree to head to Kingston but there are intervening factors here.
McFarland was drafted last summer by the Florida Panthers who also own the rights to two Frontenacs: Erik Gudbranson and Cory Durocher.
NHL teams give development money to the CHL teams that manage their prospects and being as how money is the much ballyhooed issue in Kingston every year.
The added development money from the Panthers for developing three prospects might be enough added motivation to get Larry Mavety to pull the trigger.