The Calgary Flames are basically done their off-season to-do list. Well, mostly, as the Flames still have a pending restricted free agent left to sign: Swedish defenseman Oliver Kylington.
What’s taking so dang long with Kylington? Well, it probably stems from two things: the Flames minuscule cap space, and the odd mix of comparable players who have recently signed deals.
Kylington was a Flames’ second round pick, 60th overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft. Considering that weekend gave the Flames Andrew Mangiapane and Rasmus Andersson (and eventually Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm), it’s already a win. But Kylington’s coming along!
He’s 23. He’s a left shot defender who’s played five pro seasons in North America – plus parts of two more in Sweden – and with TJ Brodie off to Toronto he’s probably the best pure skater on the team. He’s played 87 NHL games and has 15 points – that’s about 0.172 points per game. He is an RFA with no arbitration rights, which basically means aside from withholding services or an offer sheet he has no leverage.
Some comparable recent signings
Here’s a quick rundown of some recent signings, sorted by NHL games played.
|Victor Mete||171||31||0.181||1 year, 1-way, $735,000 AAV|
|Travis Dermott||157||41||0.261||1 year, 1-way, $874,000 AAV|
|Jonas Siegenthaler||90||13||0.144||1 year, 1-way, $800,000 AAV|
|Brendan Guhle||59||14||0.237||2 years, 1-way, $800,000 AAV|
|Sami Niku||48||10||0.208||2 years, 1-way, $725,000 AAV|
|Noah Juulsen||44||8||0.181||1 year, 2-way, $700,000 AAV|
|Gabriel Carlsson||23||3||0.130||2 years, 1.5-way, $725,000 AAV
(First year is 2-way, second is 1-way)
|Kyle Capobianco||12||1||0.083||2 years, 1-way, $775,000 AAV|
|Jakub Zboril||2||0||0.000||2 years, 1-way, $725,000 AAV|
Now, we can probably agree that Dermott is probably the least comparable of the comparables: he’s played much more and scored much more, so at the least we can agree that Kylington shouldn’t get $874,000 for next season.
After that, it’s a bit messy.
One-way or two-way deal? Most of the players in this sample got one-way deals, but both Juulsen and Carlsson provide arguments for two-ways because they don’t have that much less experience than Kylington. (I’m a fan of the 1.5-way deal because it gives Kylington a bit of security with a multi-year pact, but does so by keeping the cap hit down a bit overall.)
From a pure production standpoint, Siegenthaler seems like the most similar player to Kylington. But $800,000 in a year when (a) Kylington’s probably the sixth or seventh blueliner and (b) the cap is flat is a bit of a hefty cap hit.
A compromise solution may be a one year deal at something around $750,000 – it’s a mid-point between Mete and Siegenthaler, albeit arbitrarily chosen – or perhaps just copying the Niku deal, as Kylington seems to be the Sami Niku of the Flames system.
If you were Brad Treliving, given the various economic and market constraints, what would the ideal deal to offer Kylington be? Sound off in the comments!