Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oliver Kylington ‘trending towards’ playing for Calgary Wranglers on Thursday
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
Good news, everybody! The Calgary Flames have announced that defenceman Oliver Kylington, currently on a long-term injury conditioning stint with the American Hockey League’s Calgary Wranglers, is “trending towards” playing his first meaningful game in a long time when he potentially suits up for the Wranglers on Thursday night when they host the Ontario Reign.
Appearing on Sportsnet 960 The Fan, Wranglers general manager Brad Pascall went further and told Pat Steinberg that Kylington will be in the lineup on Thursday.
Thursday would be Kylington’s first AHL game since Nov. 11, 2019 and his first game action of any kind since May 26, 2022, the Flames’ Game 5 playoff loss to Edmonton.
Kylington, 26, was a second-round selection of the Flames way back in 2015. (The Flames traded up into the end of the second round from the third round in order to draft him.) He came over to North America as a fresh-faced 18-year-old and gradually polished and refined his defensive game.
Kylington made his NHL debut in the final game of the 2015-16 season, but didn’t become a contender for regular NHL duty until 2018-19. He spent parts of three seasons (2018-21) as a depth defender before breaking through as a full-timer in 2021-22, when he registered 31 points in a breakout season alongside Chris Tanev.
Kylington missed the entirety of the 2022-23 as he remained in Sweden to tend to some ongoing mental health challenges. He’s been in Calgary since this fall doing the same thing, and he progressed enough to be a regular presence around the Saddledome throughout December as he skated with the Flames’ skills and development team and their injured players as they rehabbed.
Kylington was assigned to the Wranglers on Jan. 4. Under the terms of Section 13.9 of the CBA, which governs long-term injury conditioning loans, Kylington is allowed to remain with the Wranglers for the longer of six days or three games played by the team, with the potential to extend by two more games by request. (It seems likely that the Flames will request the two additional games to evaluate Kylington’s readiness to play.)
He would be eligible for another 14-day conditioning stint to the AHL once he’s activated from the long-term injury reserve (under the terms of Section 13.8 of the CBA), but he would count against the Flames’ 23-man active roster while on such a loan to the minors.
Mental health is health, and it’s really encouraging to see Kylington progress in his recovery to the point where he may feel ready to return to game action. Hopefully it’s a sign that he’s back to where he wants to be, and a step toward him returning to NHL action in the not-too-distant future.
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