Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Calgary Flames blueliner Oliver Kylington expected to return against Columbus
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
As the Calgary Flames prepare to host the Columbus Blue Jackets, our pal Pat Steinberg from Sportsnet shared a bit of positive news. It sure does sound like defenceman Oliver Kylington will suit up for the Flames on Thursday night.
It will be Kylington’s first NHL game since Game 5 of the second round of the 2022 playoffs against Edmonton.
Kylington, 26, is a left-shot defender who the Flames originally selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He was touted as a potential first-rounder early in his draft year due to his fabulous skating and offensive acumen, but slid due to some concerns about his defensive skills, and the Flames traded up into the end of the second round to nab him. In retrospect, it seems like a great gamble.
Kylington signed an entry-level deal with the Flames as an 18-year-old and moved to Stockton to work on his defensive game; he was coached by now Flames head coach Ryan Huska during his first few seasons in the AHL. He improved his defensive game enough to challenge for a regular NHL role. He became a sixth or seventh defender option for a few seasons before breaking through as an everyday defender in 2021-22, playing alongside Chris Tanev.
Kylington missed all of 2022-23, as he remained in Sweden to deal with lingering mental health challenges. He’s been in Calgary since the fall of 2023, as he’s continued to progress towards an on-ice return. He skated with the Flames’ injured players throughout December and played a pair of games during an AHL conditioning stint in January.
As of this writing, the Flames have enough roster spots and salary cap space available that they should be able to activate Kylington from the long-term injury reserve prior to Thursday’s game. While his return to game action is just a small step in what’s hopefully a long and fruitful hockey career, it’s a massive accomplishment for Kylington in terms of his self-growth and perseverance, and hopefully serves as an inspiration for anybody else hoping to make positive changes in their own lives.
The Flames host Columbus on Thursday. It’s a 7 p.m. MT puck drop at the ‘Dome.
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