2010-11: Roland McKeown skated for the Toronto Marlboros minor midget and bantam AAA teams. He played in seven games with the midget team at the OHL Cup and had 2 assists and 2 penalty minutes.
2011-12: McKeown was a captain for the Toronto Marlboros minor midget team and led the team’s defensemen with 35 points in 28 regular season games. He scored 10 goals with 25 assists and had 30 penalty minutes. McKeown scored 3 goals with 7 assists for the Marlboros in seven games at the OHL Cup tournament. He was the second player taken in the 2012 OHL Priority Draft when he was drafted in the first round by Kingston.
2012-13: McKeown was named to the OHL’s All-Rookie team, skating in 61 games for Kingston during the regular season and four playoff contests. He played for Team Canada in the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship and played for Canada Ontario in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge. McKeown scored 7 goals with 22 assists and was -24 with 33 penalty minutes for the Frontenacs during the regular season. Kingston was third in the East Division despite a sub-.500 record and was swept by Barrie in a first round series. McKeown was -6 with 4 penalty minutes in the four-game series with the Colts.
2013-14: McKeown skated for Canada in the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament before returning to Kingston for his second OHL season. In five games with Canada’s gold medal-winning U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka tournament he had 1 assist and was an even plus/minus with 6 penalty minutes. McKeown was chosen in the second round, 50th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.
2014-15:McKeown was obtained by Carolina from Los Angeles in February 2015 along with a conditional first round pick in exchange for defenseman Andrej Sekera. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Hurricanes in April and made his pro hockey debut with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers following his third OHL season with Kingston. McKeown was +3 with 1 assist and no penalties in four games with the Checkers, who missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the West Division. McKeown scored 7 goals with 25 assists and was +1 with 57 penalty minutes in 65 regular season games for Kingston. The Frontenacs finished third in the East Division and were swept by North Bay in a first-round series. McKeown was -5 with 1 assist and 9 penalty minutes in the four-game series.
McKeown is an elite skater who can quarterback a power play. While not possessing a particularly lethal shot, McKeown is good at distributing the puck and a capable point producer. There are some concerns about McKeown: he isn’t as physical as one would like for his size, and he can be prone to overreaching offensively, leading to opportunities for the opposition.
McKeown will truly begin his pro career this season, likely joining a solid stable of young defensemen in Charlotte with Carolina’s AHL affiliate, where he played four games at the end of last season on a professional tryout. McKeown is in the middle of the pack among the Hurricanes’ stable of defensive prospects, but his ability to contribute offensively and move the puck in the offensive zone gives him a trump card not many in the pipeline have.