Saturday, April 09, 2016

Making his NHL Debut at Age 18 Puts D-man Oliver Kylington in Exclusive Company

Swedish defenceman Oliver Kylington joined a very exclusive club on Saturday.

When he made his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild in Calgary's season finale won 2-1 by the Flames, Kylington became just the eighth player in Flames team history to debut at age 18.

On that short list, he will be the seventh-youngest and since 2000, he's the second-youngest behind Sam Bennett.

Even more impressively, narrow the scope to defencemen and Kylington is only the second. The other was Al MacInnis, who was five months younger when he made his debut back on Dec. 30, 1981.


Flames to Debut in the NHL at Age 18 

1. D Al MacInnis on Dec. 30,1981 - 18 years, 172 days
2. C Dan Quinn on Dec. 5, 1983 - 18 years, 188 days
3. LW Oleg Saprykin on Oct. 2, 1999 - 18 years, 232 days
4. RW Rico Fata on Oct. 9, 1998 - 18 years, 239 days
T5. C Sam Bennett on Apr. 11, 2015 - 18 years, 295 days
T5. RW Jarome Iginla on Apr. 21, 1996 - 18 years, 295 days
7. D Oliver Kylington, Apr. 9, 2016 - 18 years, 326 days
8. C Sean Monahan, Oct. 3, 2013 - 18 years, 356 days


Add 19-year-olds to the mix and you still have less than 10 defencemen in team history that have made their NHL debut as a teenager.  Those that broke in on the blueline at age 19 include Derek Morris, Robyn Regehr, Jamie Allison, Brian Glynn and Tony Curtale. The latter only played two NHL games.

Overall, less than 30 Flames going back to 1980 when the Flames re-located to Calgary from Atlanta, have made their NHL debut before the age of 20.


Flames Teenage Debuts Since 2000

Speaking to the lack of top prospects that existed in the organization for a long period, this list is especially sparse if you only go back to 2000.


Flames to Debut in the NHL as a Teen (since 2000-01)

1. C Sam Bennett on Apr. 11, 2015 - 18 years, 295 days
2. D Oliver Kylington, Apr. 9, 2016 - 18 years, 326 days
3. C Sean Monahan, Oct. 3, 2013 - 18 years, 356 days
4. C Mikael Backlund, Jan. 8, 2009 - 19 years, 297 days


You'll remember Backlund's one game cameo in the 2008-09 season. It came three days after he and Sweden lost 5-1 to Canada in the World Junior Championships gold medal game in Ottawa.

Right after that, Backlund joined the Kelowna Rockets and played the rest of that season in the WHL. Up until the WJC, he had been playing for Västerås in Sweden.


Young D Debuts Across the NHL

League wide, it's not often that defenceman make it to the NHL at age 18. In the last 15 seasons, Kylington is the 10th youngest defenceman to make his debut and one of only 15 to get game action in before their 19th birthday.


NHL Defencemen to Debut at Age 18 (Since 2001-02)

1. Zach Bogosian ATL - Oct. 10, 2008 - 18 years, 87 days
2. Nakita Zadorov BUF, Oct. 19, 2013 - 18 years, 187 days
3. Aaron Ekblad FLA, Oct. 9, 2014 - 18 years, 244 days
4. Luca Sbisa PHI, Oct. 11, 2008 - 18 years, 255 days
5. Noah Hanifin CAR, Oct. 8, 2015 - 18 years, 256 days
6. Alex Pietrangelo STL, Oct. 10, 2008 - 18 years, 266 days
7. Victor Hedman TB, Oct. 3, 2009 - 18 years, 289 days
8. Cam Fowler ANA, Oct. 8, 2010 - 18 years, 307 days
9. Drew Doughty LA, Oct. 11, 2008 - 18 years, 308 days
10. Oliver Kylington, Apr. 9, 2016 - 18 years, 326 days
11. Adam Larsson NJ, Oct. 8, 2011 - 18 years, 330 days
12. Dmitry Kulikov FLA, Oct. 2, 2009 - 18 years, 338 days
13. Rasmus Ristolainen BUF, Oct. 2, 2013 - 18 years, 340 days
14. Luke Schenn PHI, Oct. 9, 2008 - 18 years, 342 days
15. Steve Eminger WSH, Oct. 11, 2002 - 18 years, 345 days


There are a lot of very good defencemen on this list. The Flames can only hope Kylington turns out anywhere close to the likes of Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Alex Pietrangelo and Aaron Ekblad.

Regardless of where he tops out at calibre-wise, just making it to the NHL down the road as a regular -- even if it's third pairing -- would make him a shrewd pick-up at the 2015 NHL Draft.

In case you forgot, Kylington -- once expected to go as high as top five -- nearly ended up falling into the third round before the Flames swooped in and grabbed him at No. 60. Last summer in this piece, GM Brad Treliving provided some insight into what happened behind-the-scenes on that Saturday, second day of the draft, that led to Calgary making a trade with Arizona to move up and draft Kylington when they did.



By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.

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2 comments:

  1. You keep writing & I'll keep reading. Stuff like this is why I think Calgary has one of the best beat writers in the league!

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    1. Thank you so much. You're very kind. Thanks for reading.

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