5:00 PM: The Flames have officially announced the contract.
4:39 PM: The Calgary Flames and restricted free agent defenseman Oliver Kylington have avoided arbitration. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the team has agreed on a two-year, $2.5MM AAV contract with Kylington.
Notably, this deal will allow Kylington to reach unrestricted free agency once it expires. The deal covers the 25-year-old’s final two RFA years, and will give him the opportunity to hit the open market as a 27-year-old free agent. Kylington was scheduled to appear with the Flames before an arbitrator on August 10th.
Looking at this signing from an on-ice perspective, Kylington had a breakout season last year which definitely earned him this nice raise. Kylington was once a top prospect whose shine had dulled a bit in recent years. He was always seen as the type of pace-pushing, offensively-oriented defenseman who could excel at lower levels but might struggle to put all his tools together to become an effective NHL defenseman. This year, he found the right amount of balance in his game and managed to stay in the lineup and play in 73 games.
Kylington played most of the year next to Chris Tanev, one of the better defensive defensemen in hockey. Tanev’s shutdown game and overall reliability provided Kylington the freedom to operate and to act on his offensive instincts. Kylington helped the Flames reach new heights in the regular season, and he finished 2021-22 with nine goals and 31 points in 73 games. Kylington saw secondary power play time and, generally speaking, proved he could stick in the most difficult league in the world.
While he’s no longer a prospect, there could still be room to grow in Kylington’s game. He’ll head back to Calgary and join a stacked defense corps, hoping to help the Flames build off of last season’s success despite the departures of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.