In a perfect world, Oliver Kylington would be skating with the Calgary Flames and getting ready for the stretch drive right now.
Instead, weeks away from the NHL trade deadline, the Flames are being linked to the likes of Luke Schenn, a renaissance man with the Vancouver Canucks this season.
In Elliotte Friedman's latest 32 thoughts, he said what most speculative hockey following types have been suggesting for weeks. The Calgary Flames and head coach Darryl Sutter may be a perfect fit for Schenn.
Or maybe Schenn is the perfect fit for Sutter. The hard-nosed 33-year-old stay-at-home sort of guy is crafted in a similar mould to the Flames' defensive MVP, Chris Tanev. Except healthier. Tanev has been banged up seemingly all year, sitting out on a few occasions because of injuries. In his first game back from a lengthy break (which only cost him two games thanks to the bye week), Tanev scrapped Jacob Trouba — risking the surgically repaired right shoulder in the process.
Schenn makes sense both as insurance and as a calming presence for Nikita Zadorov on the bottom pairing. His $850,000 salary cap hit makes him an attractive deadline add amid his surprisingly balanced season. Schenn is four points shy of his career high, just 50 games into the season.
Friedman believes the Flames are among those interesting in adding him. As long as they believe they're still a playoff contender.
"The Flames are believed to be in on Schenn too, although they might wait to see if it makes sense for them based on the standings. You can see the possibility, because of Chris Tanev’s injuries. Tanev is as big a gamer as they come, but even he can’t overcome everything. There’s been a push from some in the Canucks organization to keep Schenn. I think it depends on what’s offered. If Vancouver deems it too low, they won’t move. But there’s plenty of interest, which generally pushes up the price."
He'd certainly help the Calgary Flames' chances of making the playoffs.
You can't help but worry, though, that all this talk about Schenn means the worst-case scenario for Kylington.
The 25-year-old coming off a career breakout season is skating back home in Sweden, where he has been all season for personal reasons that have prevented him from returning after inking a two-year extension worth $5 million to avoid arbitration.
With the trade deadline a few weeks away, decisions will have to be made. How active the Calgary Flames get in the Schenn talks could hinge just as heavily on the status of Kylington as Tanev's health.