Earlier this week, my latest feature story for the Kings website went live. That latest article in the on-going monthly series, where I provide an in-depth look at one of their prospects, focused on Roland McKeown of the OHL. He was selected by L.A. with the second round draft pick they acquired from Vancouver for Linden Vey at last June’s draft.
If you missed it, here is a link to that story and there are links to others in the series down below for your reference.
Now, the reason for this post here is two-fold. First, we encourage you to watch McKeown and his Kingston Frontenacs on TV later today, as the NHL Network will broadcast their game vs. the Peterborough Petes live at 4pm PST this afternoon.
Second, in talking with a scout recently, we gathered some other interesting comments on the 18-year-old defenseman that sort of dovetail nicely with the perspective shared in that other article on the young blueliner.
Regarding McKeown’s numbers being down this year, the scout said:
“I think it is similar to what Jonathan Bernier went through. You would watch him when Kim [Dillabaugh] and Bill [Ranford] originally started working with him, he would get [crossed up] a couple of times. In the short run, Bernier’s game suffered, while in the long run, obviously, their teaching has paid off in spades… I think in the beginning of the year, [McKeown] may have tried to change too many things at once or be all things to everybody. He tried to be offensive, he tried to be defensive. One shift he would be offensive, one shift he would be defensive, which is the natural progression of things when you’re learning.”
On McKeown saying Doughty was his favorite player:
“He would be crazy not to have Drew Doughty as one of his favorite players. Now, if he said he models his game after Drew, [they might need to have] a discussion with him – because I can tell you how many people can model their game after Drew, and that number is zero.”
On McKeown’s compete level:
“Roland’s tools don’t always come out because he doesn’t show that higher level of compete yet. That may seem like a slight, but it isn’t. You could say that about plenty of players in junior. [Drew] Doughty played 40 minutes a game in Guelph, so he had to pace himself. You only saw those higher level things from Drew when either his pride was challenged or when he was at a showcase. When Drew played for his country, he was an animal. There was a different will, a drive, that transcended his game, but it wasn’t there all the time. Very rarely do you find a player, maybe [Kyle] Clifford would have been the only other [Kings prospect] that you would see it from all the time. [Nick} Shore didn’t show it in college. He showed glimpses of it, but look at him now. I think that’s something that if you have it in you a little bit, you can really bring it out. If you don’t have it in you, I don’t think you can ever get it out. But it seems that when these guys become pros and they all of a sudden have no choice, it’s just a different level.
Look at [Tyler] Toffoli, look at [Tanner] Pearson, look at [Jake] Muzzin. These were guys that excelled in junior, but people weren’t always talking about those guys like they were the best competitors in the world. Now, when they talk about them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pearson and Toffoli were players who set the tone sometimes. That’s part cultural based, it’s part innate. [The Kings] provide the right environment, they strive to create a culture of winning. It’s a culture that started with accountability. When you have no other choice, you have no other choice. New Jersey did a really good job of that back when they were winning all those Cups. No matter who they drafted, as soon as they stepped on the ice in New Jersey, they were assimilated. They had no other choice other than to play a certain way, other than to act a certain way and other than to give a certain effort. Or they just weren’t there, they were gone. In a similar way, a lot of [LA’s} players don’t have a choice but to compete.”
LA Kings 2014-15 Preseason Prospect Rankings – Honorable Mention (including McKeown)
Shore Brings Quiet Confidence Up The Middle – LA Kings feature story
Derek Forbort: Sticking to the Plan – LA Kings feature story
Berube Continues To Step Up and Meet the Challenges In Goal – LA Kings feature story
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