The NHL trade deadline has seen rumors surrounding each and every major league club, but prospects are being shuffled around too. The latest has seen defenseman Roland McKeown sent to the Carolina Hurricanes as Andrei Sekera was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
McKeown was a second round pick for the Kings just last year at 50th overall. At 19 years old, the Kingston Frontenacs captain has 24 points in 54 games so far this season.
The defenseman is 6’1 and 194 pounds and he has a right handed shot. At 19 years old, he still might be a couple years away from making an impact on the Hurricanes.
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He is known as a “puck moving” defenseman with a solid shot and good instincts carrying the puck out of the defensive zone. Last season he was a +38 with Kingston and he had 43 points.
“Roland has served in leadership positions for Kingston and Hockey Canada and is a good defenceman that our scouts like,” said Ron Francis, the Hurricanes executive vice-president and general manager in a press release.
McKeown is considered a prospect to become a top four defenseman in the NHL. The Listowel, Ontario native began his hockey career with the Toronto Marlboros minor midget and bantam teams in 2010-2011. In 2011-2012, he was the captain of the club.
He was the second overall pick in the 2012 OHL priority draft when he was selected by the Kingston Frontenacs. In 2012-2013, he was named to the league’s all rookie team.
McKeown has also played at the international level with the 2013 Canadian U18 team in the World Junior Championships. He also played for Canada’s Ontario team in the U17 World Hockey Challenge of the same year.
Carolina has one of the thinner farm systems in the NHL right now, but some of that is because so many players have graduated to the NHL roster. This is one of their reasons for trying to stock up on prospects like McKeown.
Their top prospect currently is a defenseman, Hayden Fleury, their first round pick who went seventh overall this past summer. McKeown joins him as what they hope to be their future 1-2 pair in the NHL. At 18 years old, Fleury plays with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.
Elias Lindholm was one of their top defenseman prospects as well but he has become a full time player with the Hurricanes.
Carolina’s system is pretty deep at defense now, and McKeown has only added to that.