John McFarland, once touted as a potential future NHL superstar, has retired from professional hockey at age 26.
The Bakersfield Condors made the announcement Tuesday as McFarland had been with the organization since signing a one-year AHL contract in the summer of 2018 after two years spent playing in Europe.
McFarland was drafted by the Sudbury Wolves with the first-overall pick in the 2008 Ontario Hockey League priority selection after a remarkable career with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. During his minor midget season, McFarland recorded 96 goals and 165 points as the top star of a team that included current NHLers Tyler Toffoli and Devante Smith-Pelly.
John Tavares and Steven Stamkos were the top OHL picks in 2005 and 2006, respectively, but McFarland didn’t end up being a top NHL pick like them. Instead, he was more like 2007 top OHL pick Ryan O’Reilly. Both were taken 33rd overall in their respective NHL draft years. McFarland was chosen by the Florida Panthers in 2010, but unlike the three other top OHL picks mentioned he never broke through at the NHL level.
McFarland spent parts of three seasons with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, while also mixing in stints with ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones. He made his NHL debut during the 2015-16 campaign but it lasted just three games. He spent 2016-17 with SaiPa in Finland and 2017-18 with HC La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss league before returning to North America this past off-season.