Calgary Flames blueliner Oliver Kylington will be testing the free agent market

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
23 days ago
When Craig Conroy took reins of the Calgary Flames as general manager in May 2023, he inherited seven players who were set to becoming unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2024. He traded five of them and re-signed Mikael Backlund. The seventh, Oliver Kylington, will be testing the free agent market, per multiple sources and reports.
Speaking with Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Pat Steinberg on the draft floor on Saturday, here’s what Conroy had to say:
We’ve been talking to his representation and we’re just going to keep moving forward. We obviously don’t have anything done yet, but we’re just going to see how that goes. That’s one thing, you put in your service and you become an unrestricted free agent or have an opportunity to, that’s also their decision to do that. So, we’ll see how it goes, but no real updates as of today.
Originally selected by the Flames in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, Kylington made his NHL debut in the season finale of the 2015-16 season. Criticized somewhat for his lack of defensive details early in his pro career, Kylington flat-out put in the work and learned how to use his instincts and skating ability to be effective in all three zones. He enjoyed an offensive breakout alongside Chris Tanev in the 2021-22 season, posting 31 points in 73 games in his first – and to date, only – full NHL season.
Kylington signed a two-year contract during the 2022 off-season with a $2.5 million AAV, but missed roughly 22 months of action while dealing with some mental health challenges. He returned to the NHL in January and played 33 games for the Flames, posting eight points in the process.
From the Kylington camp’s standpoint, it’s understandable to look for a bit of stability in the form of a multi-year deal. Over an 82-game schedule, Kylington’s 2023-24 output would be around 20 points and between that and his fantastic 2021-22 performance, an argument could be made that he should be getting a bit of a raise.
From the Flames’ standpoint, it’s understandable to be a bit wary investing in a multi-year deal when it’s not entirely clear what Kylington is as a full-timer after missing so much time. Heck, it’s still a bit of a question mark what he looks like away from a pairing with Tanev, so some caution on their part makes sense.
As we’ve mentioned at multiple points during this process, there’s no clearcut precedent for a new contract for Kylington because he’s kind of a unicorn – both in terms of playing style and how he projects going forward. At this juncture, the two sides haven’t been able to bridge the gap between their particular valuations of Kylington going forward – reasonable people can disagree on such things.
It goes without saying that there’s a lot of mutual respect between player and team for how Kylington’s time away from the game was handled; the player needed to take care of his mental health and the team respected and supported that. Kylington exploring the free agent market is him looking into his options, and we wouldn’t necessarily shut the door on him returning to the Flames.
The free agent market opens at 10 a.m. MT on Canada Day.

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