Kylington CGY return to practice

CALGARY -- Oliver Kylington participated in his first full NHL practice in nearly 20 months Monday.

The Calgary Flames defenseman, who hasn't played an NHL game since May 26, 2022, has been on personal leave since the start of last season to attend to his mental health.

“I felt good," Kylington said. "It's fun to see everyone again and it was fun to share the ice with everyone.

"I knew that this day was about to come, so I was looking forward to it. I just tried to really approach it as any other day, but it was kind of hard. Yesterday I had a moment for myself. At one point in time, I didn't think I was going to be here. It was kind of emotional, but in a good way. I was excited to come here today and see everyone and just share the ice with everyone and play hockey again."

It's unclear when Kylington could return to game action for Calgary.

"The way he looked today, it looked like he hasn't missed a beat on the ice in practice, but we do not have a timeline, no," said Flames coach Ryan Huska, who coached Kylington as an 18-year-old in the American Hockey League.

"Having him back, all the guys seeing all the stuff he's gone through where he's getting himself in a position where he's closer to playing, they're happy for him and it does bring some energy to our room, for sure."

Kylington, who also participated in an optional skate with a small group of teammates Dec. 1, was placed on a conditioning assignment with Calgary of the AHL on Jan. 4 and was granted an extension to continue playing there Jan. 13. He was recalled from the minors Saturday after playing two games.

The 26-year-old also skated with injured members of the Flames in December prior to his AHL assignment.

"What he's been through and what he's gone through, it takes a lot of strength and he's been working hard on himself," goalie Jacob Markstrom said. "When he said he feels comfortable to come back to play, that's great news for us. We're just here to support him, and hopefully I think he can help our group."

Selected by the Flames in the second round (No. 60) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Kylington set NHL career highs in 201-22, his last season played, in goals (nine), assists (22), points (31), plus/minus (plus-34) and average ice time per game (18:09).

He has 47 points (14 goals, 33 assists) in 168 career NHL games.

The Flames (21-20-5) next play Tuesday, at home against the St. Louis Blues (9 p.m. ET; SN1, BSMW).