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Calgary Flames GM Craig Conroy on Oliver Kylington’s return: ‘He’s excited, he’s looking forward to it’

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Photo credit:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
A lot of things didn’t go well for the Calgary Flames in 2022-23. Among other things, for a team where a speedy puck transition game was crucial to their playing style, not having defender Oliver Kylington available for the season was a bit loss. Easily the club’s best skater, Kylington was away from the club on a personal leave for the entire season.
Speaking with Sportsnet 960’s Big Show with George Rusic and Eric Francis on Monday morning, Flames general manager Craig Conroy reiterated that Kylington is expected back and that the player is excited to be returning.
Asked about if Kylington’s back in town and if there have been any contract talks yet – Kylington is one of the illustrious six pending 2024 unrestricted free agents – Conroy had this answer:
“His first thing is he wants to get back here in Calgary. He hasn’t been back yet. But he’s excited. He’s looking forward to it. He’s talking to the boys. He’s getting going. We haven’t really talked about an extension. We’ve just mostly talked about him, getting him back, getting him playing. And he’s just excited to be back here in Calgary and be with the guys and kinda getting ready for the season. And getting back to some normalcy. That was his biggest thing I’ve taken away from the phone calls I’ve had with him.”
Asked about the adjustments Kylington will have to make after being away from the game for a year, Conroy had this response:
“The one thing about Oliver, he’s such a great skater. Skating is such a big part of the game now. And like everyone else, everyone’s going to have this four month break now. Is it going to take him a little bit longer? But you watch players now that don’t play all year and then come back, the one thing about Oliver, he has been skating. He’s been skating for a month already. He’s probably going to skate more and be on the ice more than most of our NHL players until August when everybody will really ramp up then. For him to be in there doing that already, hopefully that gives him a little comfort level on the ice playing with the guys. Hopefully just training camp is enough to get him back caught up to speed, to be honest.”
Kylington, who turned 26 in May, had a breakout season in 2021-22 after spending the previous three seasons on the Flames roster but without a clear role. He had 31 points in 73 games in 2o21-22 (after having 16 points in 94 games between 2018-21), boosting his production to 0.425 points-per-game from 0.170. He found a great fit alongside two-way blueliner Chris Tanev, which really helped bolster the Flames’ entire blueline group.
The Flames had some nice stories on their blueline in 2022-23 – looking at you, MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Zadorov – but if the club wants to be younger, faster and more dynamic going forward, Kylington’s return to action (and hopeful return to full power) will do a lot to improve the group.
The Flames begin training camp in mid-September.

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