According to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, the Calgary Flames are making a defender swap. Per Francis’ Twitter account, the Flames are expected to announce on Thursday that they are recalling defenseman Brandon Davidson from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat and re-assigning Oliver Kylington to their AHL club.
The Calgary Flames will announce later this morning they have sent Oliver Kylington down to Stockton and have recalled Taber, Ab. native Brandon Davidson.
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) November 7, 2019
Davidson is 28 and carries a $700,000 cap hit at the NHL level. In 10 games with Stockton this season he has 10 points. He’s been playing primarily on the club’s top pairing with Andrew Nielsen. He’s a left shot veteran of 162 games split between Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago and the NY Islanders. He’s been, to this point, Stockton’s best defender.
Kylington is 22 and carries a $730,833 cap hit at the NHL level. In 14 games with the Flames this season he has one point (an assist). He’s been playing primarily on the club’s third pairing with Rasmus Andersson, but he’s also swapped out occasionally so that Bill Peters can shuffle around the defense pairings.
Peters really shuffled his pairings on Tuesday against Arizona, to the point where Kylington was playing with TJ Brodie for much of the game. But Peters’ media chats on Tuesday and Wednesday centered around putting some good habits and predictability in place – noting that comfort on the ice comes from knowing what your teammates will do with the puck – and putting Michael Stone or Brandon Davidson into the lineup may speak more to the team’s needs to build good defensive zone habits than anything Kylington has done poorly this season. Stone, in particular, has been used to add some heaviness and stay-at-home qualities to the third pair. If that’s the direction they’re going right now, it does Kylington no good to sit in the press box.
Kylington’s young. He’s waiver exempt. He needs to play a lot. With the Flames’ coaching staff seemingly at their wit’s end regarding their transition game, it makes sense to spare Kylington the headaches right now and let him rack up minutes in Stockton for the next little while. Since the Flames are over the cap and using their long-term injury reserve space from Austin Czarnik’s injury, there is precisely zero cap benefit to swapping Davidson and Kylington. This is all about stylistic fit, probably for the short term, and likely to a lesser extent rewarding Davidson for his strong play in the AHL.