Barn Burner: Kylington’s ability to join the rush and his relationship with Ryan Huska

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Mackenzie
4 months ago
On Friday’s episode of Barn Burner, Boomer, Pinder, and Rhett dove into what they are seeing from Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington. Kylington played in his 10th game of the season on Thursday night after 20 months away from professional hockey.
Since returning to the lineup, Kylington has looked stronger with every game, including scoring in each of the last two contests. In Thursday’s game against Boston, Kylington contributed in a big way by jumping up in the rush and firing one past Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark to open the scoring:
Kylington’s ability to join the rush has always been an exciting feature of his game with the elite skating he possesses. One thing that the boy’s noticed Kylington has worked on in his return to the NHL is his sense of when to jump up in the rush and when to stay back.
“It was never how to teach him to join the rush. It was never to work on his feet. It was always when to jump and when not too.” said Pinder on Kylington’s hockey sense, “It was Huska down there coaching in Stockton and he talked about it. It’s when. That’s the biggest thing this guy has to learn.”
Calgary Flames head coach Ryan Huska also had high praise for the 26-year old and his capabilities when jumping up during Thursday’s post-game press conference.
“When he’s skating and joining the rush like that you know he’s where he should be. He’s an elite skater and we have confidence that if there were mistakes to be made he’d probably be the first guy back which is important. He doesn’t take unnecessary risks when he jumps.”
Huska has a long term connection with Kylington dating back to 2014-15 when he was the coach of then AHL club Stockton Heat. Their relationship even coincides with Kylington getting his first real look in the NHL season in 2018-19, the same year Huska got the call up to be behind the bench as an assistant coach.
“Huska’s no small part of that in my opinion… It just feels like seeing him right now, you think about those guys and the development for [Kylington] as a player and you see him emerge this year with Huska as a coach. I just think it’s too big of a coincidence to suggest that their relationship doesn’t have a huge part to do with it.” said Boomer on the eight year relationship the player/coach duo have.
With the shared history with the head coach and the Flames only having three players signed through next season (Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar, Brayden Pachal), there could be a pathway to getting Kylington locked in as part of the core group on the blueline during the retool period. Boomer touched on this at the tail end of the segment.
“You think what’s this [defence] going to look like in the future going forward. You only have [3] defencemen signed for the following year, and you watch [Kylington] here this last week… If you’re the Flames, when can we start looking at a long term deal here?”
Kylington, one of those expiring contracts at the end of the current season, currently carries a $2.5 million cap hit.
Check out Friday’s episode in full here:
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