John McFarland: Future star or squandered talent?

Updated: March 16, 2010, 4:40 PM ET
By Gare Joyce

Check out these radically different player profiles:

Player A: "When he's played for us he's been terrific and a lot of the time he looks like the best talent in his birth-year [1992]," says Al Murray, Hockey Canada's chief scout and the fella in charge of putting together Canadian age-group teams.

In fact, the kid was named captain of the gold-medal-winning Canadian team at last summer's Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia -- ahead of Tyler Seguin and Erik Gudbranson. He was drafted with the first pick in the Ontario Hockey League draft, like John Tavares and Steven Stamkos.

Player B: A kid who widely advertised his unhappiness with his OHL junior team and demanded a trade -- something that made scouts' antennae twitch. They expected him to be a 40-goal scorer, maybe more. They slotted him for 100 points or more.

But he managed half that in his first year. And his second.

His team barely made it into the playoffs last season and didn't get out of the first round. This year his team again staggered into the playoffs and their prospects don't look any brighter.

So who are these guys? Well, it's actually one player -- just two sides of him: John McFarland, a left winger with the Sudbury Wolves.