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Its been a whirlwind 24 months for Roland McKeown. Last year, McKeown had a strong rookie season with Kingston, playing top 4 minutes on a club that was vastly improved this season over 2011-12. In the spring he won Gold with Canada at the Under 18 Worlds, and spent summer winning gold at the Hlinka. This season he took his game up another notch playing huge minutes for a Kingston team that had a very solid season in the OHL. He put up 43 points in 62 games. Unfortunately, the Frontenacs were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by Peterborough. Now McKeown is back wearing the Maple Leaf, this time as team captain. He will try to lead Canada to win another U18 gold medal. The team is off to a solid start at 2-0 so far with wins over Sweden and Germany.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Roland McKeown earlier this year, you can read that interview here.
Defense — shoots Right
Born Jan 20 1996 — Listowel, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 186 [185 cm/84 kg]
Roland McKeown’s skating ability is at an elite level and features excellent speed and acceleration both forwards and backwards, great pivots, excellent lateral agility, and fantastic edgework. He is so smooth on his skates, its like he’s floating above the ice. The great skating gives him outstanding mobility allows McKeown to always be in position defensively, and to join the play offensively and still be able to recover back to his position. He covers a ton of ice, and it is very difficult to beat McKeown one-on-one because he is so good on his feet.
Offensively, McKeown shows confidence and poise with the puck on his stick, and is really developing into a solid two-way defenceman. His offensive game is keyed by smart decision making and excellent passing skills. His shot isn’t the hardest of the defenders in the draft, but it is very good. What really makes it an effective weapon though is the fact that McKeown finds the openings to get it through to the net, and keeps it low and accurate, leading to second chance opportunities for teammates. He does look more like a powerplay quarterback type who runs the play with his smart offense than the big bomber from the point though. His agility and edgework allow him to walk the line and open up shooting and passing lanes.
Defensively, McKeown’s mobility keeps him in position to make plays, and a good active stick help him to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He is a smart defenceman who anticipates the play well. McKeown works hard in the corners, and is willing to battle in front of the net, but he could add more muscle to his frame, and play a more physical game as he’s not really a big hitter.
Stylistically I would compare McKeown to Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues with his effortless skating and solid two-way game. This is not a talent comparison though, just a style one. In terms of talent he could develop into a top 4 defenceman capable of playing all situations and being a weapon on the powerplay.
Here are some highlights of McKeown in action.
Check back tomorrow for my #19 Ranked prospect.
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