2014 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #37 - Roland McKeown

Next up is Roland McKeown, a classic two-way blueliner.

Roland McKeown
Position: D
Current Team: Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
Date of Birth: January 20, 1996
Place of Birth: Listowel, Ontario
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 194 lbs
Shoots: Right

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.

Scouting Reports

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

Roland McKeown enters the 2014 NHL Entry Draft as a top OHL defenseman and he owns the accolades to back it up. With an U18 WJC Gold, Ivan Hlinka Gold and a member of the OHL First All-Rookie Team after scoring seven goals and 29 points for Kingston, Roland McKeown should be on every team’s must-get list. Blessed with outstanding skating skills that feature four-way mobility and top-end acceleration and speed, McKeown is a true puck-rushing defenseman. He executes crisp outlet passes but prefers to lead the rush with the puck on his stick. Defensively, McKeown is a smart defender who employs strong positioning and good instincts. On an up-and-coming Kingston Frontenacs team, Roland McKeown is the key piece of its defensive core and will be highly sought after in the 2014 NHL Draft. - Brendan Ross, Dobber 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

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