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01-15-2013, 04:49 AM
  #492
Cyclones Rock
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I don't know how far John McFarland is off the radar of those of you who are interested in Panthers prospects, but don't let him get too far off of it.

McFarland had limited ice time in his 12 games with San Antonio (AHL), and was sent to Cincinnati (ECHL) in November. He has been nothing shy of spectacular at times. He has NHL speed and a skill set to go with it. He has a hard shot with a quick release (not the most accurate at times), and his vision of the ice is quite good. He uses teammates very effectively and creates space for himself when he is without the puck. In the past seven years, he is easily in the top three prospects to come through Cincinnati. The others two were David Desharnais (Montreal) and Cory Conacher (AHL MVP last season with Norfolk). Keep your eyes on this kid.

Another prospect who has NHL potential is Josh Birkholz (3rd round 2009 draft). He has decent size, speed galore and can carry the puck from the defensive zone into the offensive zone in no time flat. He is a very, very good penalty killer who creates a lot of offensive chances while on the PK. He needs to develop a bit better vision of the ice, but that will likely come with additional experience.

There are quite a few other decent Florida prospects in Cincinnati. Garret Wilson, David Pacan, and Michael Howser all appear to be quality players. Wilson has advanced very nicely from his rookie season and the other two are rookies who have obvious talents.

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