As we move closer to a possible start to an NHL season, Oliver Kylington remains the lone Calgary Flame without a contract. The 2015 second-round pick has slowly worked his way onto the Flames’ roster and found himself in the lineup for 48 games during the 2019-20 season. During the season, he was only able to amass two goals and five assists, one less goal than he saw in his rookie campaign.
Looking at his numbers is a little concerning moving forward, but watching Kylington play, it’s clear he has the tools to be successful in the NHL. The video below shows his first career goal, he’s got good recognition to see the open area and jump in on the play, and with a great release, he finds the back of the net.
Kylington has flashes of poise with the puck while on the blue line and also has fantastic speed, as he has showcased on rushes with the puck or while back-checking. A deep dive into the numbers will predict his next contract, but that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t out produce said contract even as soon as next season.
By the Numbers
Kylington has played just shy of 700 minutes with Rasmus Andersson in 86 games spanning two seasons. The two have mostly played third-pairing minutes while seeing a lighter workload and 64.25% of their starts in the offensive zone. Noting the offensive zone starts, it’s some cause for concern when both Kylington’s Corsi for and High Danger Corsi for are 48% and 47%, respectively (via naturalstattrick.com).
Playing away from Andersson, Kylington saw his Corsi numbers take a nosedive, which could be troubling as Andersson looks set to take a bigger role on the first or second pairing next season. Kylington played less than 100 minutes with any other Flames’ defenceman, which isn’t a huge sample to judge his play away from Andersson.
There is still no need to sound the alarm, as there are more questions to ask as well as actual games to watch when comparing his numbers.
You don’t have to look far to find a similar situation in Andrew Mangiapane, who was able to get a one-year, $715,000 contract just before the 2019-20 training camp got underway. He had just begun to establish himself as a regular on the roster, took the one-year deal, and became very valuable for the Flames, more than doubling his offensive numbers.
Kylington’s situation is a little different in that he is still trying to establish himself as a regular in the lineup.
Dallas Stars’ defenceman Julius Honka is an eerily close comparable as a guy who has found himself in and out of the lineup across a few seasons. Like Kylington, Honka has produced in the AHL but is still unable to fully lock down a roster spot with the Stars.
After a year in the Finnish SM-Liiga (from ‘Julius Honka will not play in the NHL this season after RFA signing deadline passes’ Dallas Morning Sun, 01/12/2019), Honka received a one-year, two-way contract with the Stars on Oct. 30th.
Kylington’s one-up on Honka is that he didn’t take a year away from the NHL and was still competing to get into the lineup all last season while playing more than half the season.
What’s a Fair Deal?
The Flames are right up against the cap, and barring a trade, it is most likely we see Kylington get a contract similar to Honka’s in terms of length and dollars. Like Mangiapane, Kylington may see a small rise in his salary but not by much, probably within $50,000 to $100,000.
A two-year, two-way contract at around $900,000 is what I will project for Kylington getting in a new deal. He gets a raise for past performance, and it gives Flames’ management flexibility in whether he needs more playing time in Stockton or he can win a job full-time with Calgary.