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It took awhile, but Oliver Kylington reached 200 NHL games on Tuesday night

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Calgary Flames blueliner Oliver Kylington hit an important milestone on Tuesday night in Vancouver, playing in his 200th NHL game. Typically, 200 games is used as a benchmark for draft analysts to conclude that a pick was successful.
Based on how promising Kylington’s looked since first arriving in the NHL, him reaching 200 games seemed like an inevitability. But his path to that milestone has been anything but smooth.
Selected by the Flames in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, Kylington was seen as a very promising player because of his mobility, offensive ability and hockey sense… but also seen as a bit of a project because he wasn’t the best at defending.
Kylington signed immediately and went to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat as an 18-year-old, with the aim of working with Heat head coach Ryan Huska at improving his defending. He made his NHL debut in the final game of the 2015-16 season – a nice reward for his work to that point – and then began pushing for a regular NHL role by 2018-19 after a couple more seasons in Stockton.
The challenge for Kylington was cementing himself in a regular role. He spent the bulk of 2018-19 with the Flames, playing 38 games… but he was pushed to the sidelines after the trade deadline addition of Oscar Fantenberg. The following season he spent 48 games with the big club, but again was pushed to the sidelines late after the trade deadline additions of Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort. He played zero post-season games in 2019 or 2020. Kylington began requiring waivers in 2020-21, but he was caught in a blueliner logjam and only played eight of the 56 Flames games that season and spent two-thirds of the season on the taxi squad.
But finally, Kylington broke through in 2021-22. Playing primarily with Chris Tanev, he was flat-out excellent in his role. Tanev handled the defensive details and that freed up Kylington to move around the ice and do his thing. Kylington posted a career-high 31 points over a career-high 73 games. He signed a new two year deal with the Flames… and then didn’t play a professional hockey game for 20 months.
Kylington returned to the Flames this past January after time away from the game to tend to mental health challenges. Since his return, he’s looked very much like the player we saw in 2021-22. After some fits and starts, and a lot of hard work and determination, he’s reached 200 NHL games. Here’s to another 200 more.
Kylington is the third player from the Flames’ 2015 draft class to play 200 games with the club, following Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane. He’s the eighth player selected during Brad Treliving’s tenure to reach 200 NHL games. He’s the 99th draft pick in Flames history to play 200 games in the NHL, and the 54th to play 200 games with the Flames.
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