Our annual report cards kick off with Oliver Kylington who played in 48 games for the Flames this year. We will try to have a new report card every weekday for the next few weeks.
Oliver Kylington: Defence
Regular Season Stats:
MGMacGillivray: (C-) I had been a fan of Kylington for some time, but I’m really starting to cool on his outlook within the organization. For the second year in a row the Flames chose to bring in depth defencemen at the deadline which pushed Kylington out of the lineup. If they were really comfortable with him they likely would’ve kept him in. While it’s obviously too soon to give up on him, I’m still leaning towards using him as a trade chip, especially since he could be exposed in next year’s expansion draft. He’s fine but I don’t think the management believe in his ability to round off his game.
Mark: (C) Like Michael, I like Kylington, I think there is some potential there. Do I think he’s a top pairing on a D line? No, but that’s fine too. You need six defencemen. All of these grades will be tough with the season being suspended and ultimately shortened, his grade was about what the season was for the Flames, “meh.” I don’t think Kylington did anything to damage his chances, but I also don’t think he did anything to make the Flames think he’s a piece that can’t be moved. I’d like to see him get more time to prove himself, but how long are the Flames willing to wait?
Flash: (C+) Kylington is still relatively young, we need to remember that. Whenever a young player comes overseas and plays in the AHL it can seem like their development stalls. There’s a lot to like in Kylington’s offensive game and his skating is still an A+ asset. I would have liked to see what he could have done in a more offence friendly system, which is the opposite of what Temp Coach Geoff Ward preaches. He wasn’t driving play himself, but he was still a better option than some other replacements the Flames employ on their roster. Tre tried to add at the deadline but basically just acquired a Kylington copycat with a lower ceiling in Gustafsson. C+ because he wasn’t always a liability, and showed that he can be an NHL regular capable of playing a regular shift. I’m looking for a step forward next year.
Gordie.Taylor: (C+) When it comes to Kylington, there seems to be two groups. Fans like the young Swedish defender, but for the second straight year it’s evident that something about him doesn’t sit right with management. He’s proven too be too good for the AHL (he had a hat-trick in one of his 3 games in Stockton), but he just can’t seem to stick in the Flames lineup. His elite skating and passing is exactly what a modern NHL defenceman needs, but just as I said last year, his strength is a huge concern. His actual defensive game is improving, but he is still consistently outmatched in puck battles, and often loses his footing. How the Flames handle their unrestricted free agent defencemen this offseason will be very telling to me as to how they see Kylington fitting in moving forward. In my opinion, he’ll be more than likely traded.
Maddie: (C) I’m feeling pretty solidly fine about Kylington’s season, I think. We’re still seeing him used in a somewhat limited role, but he’s certainly shown some flashes therein, but it’s also clear that some ground has to be covered before he completely rounds out him game. All of that is understandable, of course, as he’s only just turned 23 a few weeks ago. I still think there’s a good amount of potential there, and I’m not too fussed about having to wait a bit while he works to put it all together. And maybe that means that for now the on-ice product is just fine, with room for improvement, and I think that’s okay. I’m optimistic about the steps forward he can take, if given the proper opportunity.
MilhouseFirehouse: (C) Did Kylington get pushed out of the everyday lineup because the defensive core in front of him with new additions and other improving players earned or needed more looks? Or because he’s just not NHL ready yet? It’s a catch-22 where it’ll be hard to tell without more consistent NHL playing time, but it’s also hard to give it to him considering the players he’s competing with and his own middling performance to this point.
Fan Grade: (C)
FINAL GRADE: C
by Michael MacGillivray