The move adds a seventh defenseman to the Predators’ roster, giving the team some reinforcements in advance of a back-to-back. McKeown is replacing Jordan Gross, who was sent down on December 21st when veteran blueliner Ryan McDonagh was activated off of injured reserve.
McKeown is now in line to play his fourth NHL game of the season, should head coach John Hynes opt to include him in a game-day lineup.
The 26-year-old had long been a member of the Carolina Hurricanes organization since arriving in a Andrej Sekera mid-season trade. Drafted 50th overall in 2014, McKeown had been seen as a quality prospect earlier in his career, scoring at decent rates in the OHL for the Kingston Frontenacs and then quickly playing a regular role for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
He was never quite able to take the next step in his game and break into the NHL, though. After playing 10 NHL games for the Hurricanes in 2017-18, he didn’t earn any games in the following two years, leading to his exit from the organization.
After spending 2020-21 in Sweden playing for Skelleftea in the SHL, McKeown returned to North America in 2021-22 to serve as an experienced defensive option for the Colorado Eagles, the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate.
This year, McKeown has gotten back to the NHL, playing in three games for the Predators, as previously mentioned. McKeown averaged 13:44 time-on-ice per game, including 1:32 on the penalty kill.
With this recall, McKeown has a chance to put some quality NHL performances on his resume and establish himself as a go-to depth option for the Predators, who have him under contract for next season as well.