On July 13, Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington will become a restricted free agent. He’s one of four big pieces of impending off-season business for general manager Brad Treliving.
What kind of deal should we expect to see for Kylington?

Kylington, so far

Kylington is 24 years old. He’s in his seventh full pro (North American) season right now. Prior to coming over to North America, he played parts of two seasons in Swedish pro.
Here’s his progression since coming over from Sweden:
  • 2015-16: 1 NHL game (0 points), 47 AHL games (12 points)
  • 2016-17: 60 AHL games (27 points)
  • 2017-18: 62 AHL games (35 points)
  • 2018-19: 38 NHL games (8 points), 18 AHL games (14 points)
  • 2019-20: 48 NHL games (7 points), 3 AHL games (3 points)
  • 2020-21: 8 NHL games (1 point)
  • 2021-22: 19 NHL games (12 points), so far
After a first AHL season filled with learning and adapting, Kylington established himself as a really good AHL defender over the next two seasons. Then began the “Okay, so what can he be in the NHL?” period. He wasn’t a great third pairing shutdown guy, but so far he’s been an excellent second pairing defender who generates offensive chances.

Recent contracts for somewhat similar defensemen

Kylington turns 25 in April. A two year deal would walk him to free agency, while every deal that’s three years or longer would buy free agency years.
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Let’s assume Kylington’s offensive production dips 20% over the remaining 61 games. If that holds, he’ll have 59 points in 176 games when the season ends, for a career average of 0.337 points per game.
Here are a few fairly comparable player contracts of somewhat similar players:
GP
PTS
PTS/GP
Contract
Gustav Forsling
165
44
0.267
3 years x $2.67 million
Sean Walker
109
34
0.312
4 years x $2.65 million
MacKenzie Weegar
172
41
0.238
3 years x $3.25 million
Matt Grzelcyk
197
54
0.274
4 years x $3.69 million
As you can see, finding players with similar roles, backgrounds, experience and production levels as Kylington in the past few seasons is a bit of a challenge. There’s a ton of variability here, and a lot of it is probably due to non-production factors like player usage, time on ice and role. (Weegar and Grzelcyk are important players for their clubs, while Forsling and Walker are more depth pieces.)

Projections

Let’s be completely honest here, friends: this is a negotiation that could easily go to salary arbitration. Why? The variability we saw among the relevant sample of comparable players. They’re all over the place, and the deal that Kylington ends up getting will be super interesting based on his sudden importance as a top four defender (and the lack of challengers on the left side pushing for his job internally).
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Given these factors, we’re projecting a three or four year deal of between $2.9 and $3.2 million. He’s not as established as an important piece as Weegar or Grzelcyk, which brings his cap hit down a smidge, but he’s still likely going to get a gigantic raise over his current $750,000 (two-way) deal.

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