‘He looks ready’: Oliver Kylington to play top minutes, PP1 for Wranglers on Thursday

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
5 months ago
From the sounds of it, Calgary Wranglers head coach Trent Cull doesn’t exactly plan on easing Oliver Kylington back into the lineup.
The Wranglers are slated to take on the Ontario Reign at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night. It’ll mark Kylington’s first foray back into game action since May 26, 2022, when the Calgary Flames were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers.
Kylington, 26, skated on a pairing with veteran shutdown defender Colton Poolman at Wranglers morning skate on Thursday. He also took part in reps on the club’s top power-play unit alongside Matt Coronato, Emilio Pettersen, Cole Schwindt, and Adam Klapka.
You can safely assume all of that, and perhaps more, will carry over into Thursday’s contest against Ontario.
“We’re gonna play him,” Wranglers head coach Trent Cull said Thursday. “He’s a good player, he’s an elite skater. He’s gonna have some rough patches, we all do, right? But we’re gonna stick him out there and away we go. I think we’re very confident in his ability.
“I think we’re all sitting there going, ‘Man, I wish we could skate like that,'” Cull added. “He looks good. He looks ready.”
Kylington enjoyed a breakout season with the Flames in 2021–22, collecting nine goals and 31 points in 73 games while averaging a career-high 18:10 per game. He parlayed that successful campaign into a two-year, $2.5 million AAV contract extension with the club.
But the Swedish defenceman missed the entire 2022–23 season while dealing with undisclosed personal issues, which were later revealed to be significant mental health issues. After making brief appearances in informal practices with the Flames leading up to the 2023–24 season, Kylington then took another step back before starting to skate again later in the fall.
The Flames assigned Kylington to the Wranglers last week. He has been a full participant in multiple practices and was confirmed to be playing against Ontario by Wranglers GM Brad Pascall in an interview with Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg on Wednesday.
The Wranglers have elected to join Kylington at the hip with Poolman. The 28-year-old rearguard has previously been tasked with ushering along the likes of Ilya Solovyov and Jeremie Poirier, the latter of whom plays a very similar style as Kylington.
“They both can fly, right?” Poolman said. “They’re good with the puck. I think they have the same quickness with the puck as without, and they can make plays with it. Their heads are always up.
“When I’m playing with JP or something, I just try to get him the puck and he makes plays for you,” Poolman added. “He can do that and so can Shilly.”
The Wranglers currently lead the AHL’s Pacific Division with a 21–9–3 record and 45 points in 33 games this season. They’re also three points up on the Tucson Roadrunners and Ontario Reign for first place in the Western Conference.
Even without Poirier for much of the season, the Wranglers have been a highly successful team. And now, with Kylington taking the spot of Flames call-up Yan Kuznetsov in their defensive ranks, the team might be about to get another spark.
“I think he’s happy, he’s excited to play hockey, and we’re excited to have him,” Cull said. “I just want him to play hockey. I watched him this morning, I talked to him a little more yesterday, just touched up on some other things with him here again this morning on things of how we play.
“I think it’s great to have hockey conversations. We’re all a bunch of hockey junkies, I’m sure you guys can say the same thing. We’re all united in that. It’s nice to talk hockey, and that’s what he’s here doing. It looks like he’s having fun.”

Check out these posts...