I’ve wanted to play in the NHL since I was a little boy. If it happens, my dream comes to life. It’s hard work. You need to work hard and play as good as you can. - Oliver Kylington
Just two-and-a-half weeks ago, Oliver Kylington took one step towards his dream of playing in the NHL.
He took a leap forward Wednesday.
Kylington, selected in the second round (No. 60) of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., has signed an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames.
“Signing is a dream come true,” said Kylington from Spain, where he is currently training alongside newly signed Dallas Stars defenceman Johnny Oduya. “That has always been something I wanted to do. I’ve wanted to play in the NHL since I was a little boy. If it happens, my dream comes to life. It’s hard work. You need to work hard and play as good as you can.
“It was so fun. I’m so happy to be a part of Calgary and of the NHL. Right now I’m just excited. I’m happy, very happy.”
Kylington and Oduya, lifelong friends, were witness to each other’s signings.
It wasn’t something Kylington could’ve imagined happening a month ago.
“I wouldn’t think that was true,” he said. “It was very funny. We signed it together today. I was his witness and he was mine. That was funny. It was a great day for both of us.”
While Oduya will play in Dallas, Kylington’s landing spot for the 2015-16 season has yet to be determined.
The 18-year-old signed a two-year contract with AIK of the Allsvenskanin the spring. The Brandon Wheat Kings also selected him in the CHL Import Draft, 60th overall, just three days after being drafted by the Flames.
Because he was drafted by Calgary out of Europe, Kylington is not subjected to the pact between the NHL and Canadian Hockey League and is eligible to play, as a teenager, with the Stockton Heat in the American Hockey League as well.
Signing a contract with the Flames doesn’t necessarily guarantee Kylington a spot in North America this season, though. He must first be offered back to his Swedish club before any assignment by Calgary.
His attention isn’t necessarily on that, though.
“Right now I’m just focused on getting into the best shape as I can for the main camp, then hopefully work hard and try to make it to the NHL,” said the Stockholm native. “I’m going to do what I can.
"If that doesn’t happen, we’ll see.”
Kylington was one of the most noticeable players on the ice at Calgary’s development camp last week.
It comes as no surprise.
The 6-foot, 180-pound defenceman has been playing against men since he was 16 years old and in 2013-14 became the youngest player (16 years, 4 months, 10 days) ever to score a goal in SHL history, netting the game-winner in his debut with Farjestad.
His time at development camp has eased the potential, and raised his expectation, of calling Calgary home next season.
“I think I know Calgary as a city right now and I know the people around the team a bit better and the staff,” Kylington said. “They’re great people. The boys on the team, too. I think that’s a good thing to have before getting into camp.
“It gets me more motivated, too. There’s something to work on and something to work with.”