Weight: 180 lbs.
Current Team: Farjestad (SHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: 6 (Europe)
ISS Ranking: N/A
There was a time this season that Oliver Kylington was expected to be a top five pick. He was ranked as the top European by Central Scouting in their midterm rankings. A lackluster season this year has dropped him down to the second half of this year's draft in nearly all rankings. The tools from before are still there, but Kylington may be one of the riskier picks of the bunch. There's still plenty of opportunity for a steal.
Kylington's stock rose so high thanks to his play at the top level of Swedish hockey as a sixteen-year old. He was called up by Farjestad with many expectations, as he was a point-a-game player as a defenseman on their junior team. He played 32 games with Farjestad and scored a goal in his debut with the team, the youngest ever to score in the SHL.
The bar was set very high for his sophomore campaign in the SHL, but he didn't come close to breaking his previous year's high water mark. He started off the season with Farjestad before being loaned to AIK in the second division where he struggled. He was eventually returned to Fargestad and sent back to their junior squad.
He played five games at the Hlinka Memorial, scoring one goal and two assists. Many were hoping to see his game at the World Juniors, but an injury took him out for the entirety of the tournament.
He's an elite skater for his age, and commands the man-up unit with supreme passing ability. His highlights from last season are simply marvelous to watch. He is a two-way defenseman, but seems to focus a bit more on his offense than his defense. He is often compared to Erik Karlsson, but doesn't have the same offensive ceiling (the comparisons may be simply because they are both Swedish defensemen).
The skill is there. Many scouts are simply wondering whether the motivation will be. Kylington needs to work on his consistency, and some might even say work ethic. He's been describes as being invisible on certain nights. Some scouts say he looked like a completely different player this season. He seemed to take a step back when it came to his hockey IQ, which had been praised in the past.
Some worry about his size, but he isn't small enough to really be considered too small. This has been a reoccurring theme with many of the defensemen, who simply don't meet the ideal build a scout is looking for.
The Sabres don't need Kylington to be a top-pair defenseman thanks to others in the system, so he could potentially be a very good risk for Tim Murray to take. Even if he doesn't hit his full potential, he'll likely be a bottom-two pair defenseman who will get plenty of powerplay time.
What They're Saying
A smart two-way defenseman, who has tremendous feeling for the game and reads the plays well. Oliver Kylington is only average sized, but lets you forget the missing inches with his hockey sense, his strong vision and remarkable skating abilities. Owns a good shot from the blue-line and combined with this very good puck- and passing-skills, he can guide a power-play and the team's offensive game to success.
-Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
"Arguably one of the very best skaters in the draft, Oliver dances on his blades with equally high-end speed, quickness and agility and makes it look incredibly effortless. His confidence seemed to falter at times and affect his productivity but a turnaround in this could eventually see him, being one of the draft’s best defencemen."
-Craig Button, TSN
"Oliver is a very good skater with first-step quickness and fine balance. He’s a two-way defenseman who loves to join the offensive rush. He’s smart, with excellent hockey sense and passing skills, and can read situations very well."
-Goran Stubb, Central Scouting Director of European Scouting
"Kylington was sent down to Farjestad's under-20 team. It was a better situation for him, even if the competition was boys instead of men. 'It's always a concern when players switch teams - he's had a rough year,' said one scout. 'He came in with certain expectations. But the upside is there. He does have all the attributes.'"
-The Hockey News