Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames have some short-term flexibility when it comes to Oliver Kylington
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
On Thursday night, Oliver Kylington played his first pro hockey game since May 2022 when he suited up for the Calgary Wranglers. The game represented a big milestone as Kylington returns to hockey after taking time away from the game to work on some mental health challenges. (He was held out of the Wranglers’ game on Friday due to a minor groin injury.)
Kylington remains with the Wranglers, and the Flames have some options for how to handle the next steps of his road back to the NHL.
Here’s a quick run-through of the long-term injury conditioning rules: they’re governed by Section 13.9 of the CBA, which specifies that players on a club’s long-term injury reserve (LTIR) can be on an LTI conditioning loan to the AHL for six days or three games played by the AHL team (whichever is longer), and the loan can be extended for two more games by request.
The Flames sent Kylington on his LTI conditioning loan on Jan. 4, and the third game under that loan was Thursday’s game against Ontario. The Flames requested an extension to the loan and it was granted, and so Kylington will be eligible to remain on the Wranglers’ roster through their game against Coachella Valley this coming Friday. At that point, his LTI conditioning stint will end and he’ll revert back to the Flames, where he’s technically remained on the LTIR while on his conditioning stint. (A similar scenario unfolded last season with the San Jose Sharks and Nikolai Knyzhov, who missed 20 months due to a series of injuries and had his LTI loan similarly extended.)
From there, we’ll see what happens. If Kylington’s doing well and feeling like he’s progressing, the Flames have the option of activating him off the LTIR and sending him to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan. (He would count against both the active roster and the salary cap while on that loan, but the Flames have an open roster spot and cap space, so it wouldn’t really restrict them much.) In theory, Kylington could play the first game on the Wranglers’ road trip, and then be activated by the Flames and shifted to a “regular” conditioning loan and remain on the Wranglers’ road trip.
Kylington could also remain on the LTIR after his current LTI loan expires, but he wouldn’t be eligible to practice with the Flames unless he was activated (and he wouldn’t be eligible to practice with the Wranglers unless he was loaned to them). Players are limited to one LTI loan per LTIR stint, so there’s no ability to send Kylington on another. With the Flames and the Wranglers both at home for much of this coming week, the plan for Kylington’s next steps will become more clear.
Long story short: Kylington has played one pro hockey game over the last 20 months. He looked good. He seemed to be feeling good about the experience when speaking to the media following the game, and that’s the most important part. We’re guessing that he may need more time to round into form before he’s potentially thrown back into the deep end of the NHL pool.
If that’s the case, the Flames have options available to them to help ease him back in.
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