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Oliver Kylington’s AHL long-term injury conditioning stint has concluded
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
Just over two weeks ago, the Calgary Flames assigned defenceman Oliver Kylington to the American Hockey League on a long-term injury conditioning stint. Now, after two games played with the Calgary Wranglers – and a lot of practice time with the Flames’ top affiliate – Kylington’s stint has been exhausted and he’s been returned to the Flames.
(For the nerdy folks like me, Kylington was technically on the Flames’ long-term injury reserve the entire time and was loaned from that injured list to the AHL.)
Kylington missed the entirety of the 2022-23 season as he stayed in Sweden to tend to mental health challenges he was experiencing. He came to Calgary prior to training camp to continue his journey back to hockey, and he progressed enough in that journey that by December he was skating regularly with the Flames’ injured players and development staff.
On Jan. 4, the Flames sent Kylington to the Wranglers on a long-term injury conditioning stint. Under terms of the CBA, LTI conditioning stints are governed by Section 13.8, and are limited to six days or three games played by the team (whichever is longer), but are able to be extended by two games by request. The Flames requested an extension on Jan. 12, following the third game of Kylington’s loan the day prior, and the Wranglers’ game on Friday night against Coachella Valley was the fifth and final game of the LTI loan.
Kylington played twice on this conditioning stint: On Jan. 11 against Ontario and Jan. 19 against Coachella Valley. (He was held out of the Wranglers’ Jan. 12 game due to suffering a minor groin injury in his first hockey game in 20 months.) He had zero points in either game, but generally looked like onlookers probably hoped he would: confident, engaged and poised.
So, what happens now will be determined by chats between a lot of entities within the Flames organization and Kylington himself, and they’ll centre around how Kylington is feeling and what the best thing for his progression will be.
We’ve been asked by fans on social media “He’s played two games in 20 months, can he go on another conditioning stint?” The wording in Section 13.9 – the LTI conditioning section – flat-out says he only gets one LTI conditioning stint. Can he go on a “regular” conditioning stint, as detailed in Section 13.8 of the CBA? Maybe.
“The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate.”
Would it be kind of weird for the NHL to allow Kylington to go on both kinds of conditioning stints right after each other? Well, yeah, it would be. But he also missed 20 months, so it can be argued that it’s a unique circumstance. And a player being sent on both kinds of conditioning stints has happened twice over the past five seasons (e.g., since 2019-20):
- Derek Forbort (Los Angeles) was on an LTI conditioning stint from Nov. 27-Dec. 7, 2019 (5 team games, he played two), then after being activated from the IR was sent by the Kings on a conditioning loan from Dec. 28, 2019-Jan. 4, 2020.
- Daniil Tarasov (Columbus) was on an LTI conditioning stint from Dec. 2-6, 2023 (2 team games, he played one), then after being activated from the IR was sent by the Blue Jackets on a conditioning loan from Dec. 6-11, 2023.
Forbort’s LTI loan received an extension and he didn’t go on his other conditioning stint for another three weeks. Tarasov’s LTI loan wasn’t extended, and he was shifted to the other conditioning loan right away. Maybe there’s a precedent there, maybe not, but the way Section 13.8 is written doesn’t explicitly say that players only get one conditioning loan… but it also includes that fuzzy language regarding the Commissioner being able to do whatever.
In other words: procedurally, it’s not 100% clear yet what restrictions there are on Kylington’s options because situations like his are incredibly rare and the CBA is written in a way that’s both really specific in some respects and fuzzy in others.
We’ll see what happens from here, and we’ll have updates as Kylington’s journey – hopefully back to NHL action – continues to unfold.
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