Current Team: Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
Date of Birth: January 20, 1996
Place of Birth: Listowel, Ontario
Weight: 194 lbs
The 2014 draft is considered to be light on high-end blueliners after Aaron Ekblad, but Roland McKeown is right there in the next tier of rearguards, among the likes of Haydn Fleury, Julius Honka, Anthony DeAngelo and Brycen Martin. McKeown may be the most balanced of the bunch, bringing strong play in all three zones.
David Gregory of Central Scouting loves him:
"I love this kid … he can play offensively and move the puck and has a bomb of a shot," Gregory said. "When defending you he presents himself as a big, strong and mobile guy. He'll push guys to the side; he's a legitimate top prospect."
In an interview with Buzzing the Net, McKeown gave his thoughts on the player he found toughest to play against. You may recognize him:
"I would say Boone Jenner [the former Oshawa Generals captain who is now a rookie with the Columbus Blue Jackets]. He was a horse out there. Every shift, every game, he was really going. He could affect a game in many ways — offensively, playing a gritty style, being out defensively in key situations. I would say Boone was the best player I’ve faced."
...not sure if Roland answered the question incorrectly, or if it was an editing error, but I'm sure McKeown would love to be on the same NHL team as Boone, rather than the opponent.
For the record, I really like this kid.
McKeown is a strong, do-it-all defensemen whose biggest asset is his ability to think the game and know his position. He makes strong, simple plays, has a good shot and distributes the puck effectively. - Elite Prospects
A Good Fit in Columbus?
There's a good chance that McKeown would be available when the Jackets pick in the first round, and if they are inclined to go with a blueliner, McKeown would be a terrific pick. We've mentioned before when doing these profiles that defense is a position of weakness (or at very least the position with the least depth) in the system. McKeown would immediately vault to the top of the list, and the thoughts of he and Ryan Murray on the same pair down the line...tantalizing.
McKeown in Action