When picking 26th in the NHL entry draft, the goal is to find players that may eventually impact the current club. There's not going to be a plethora of sure bets left on the board, which means that teams have to decide whether or not the upside of a player outweighs his flaws.
In Oliver Kylington's case, he may just be that player.
Kylington began his Swedish Hockey League career when he was just 16, which is a ridiculous age for any player to break into a professional league. He's a graceful skater who only uses a few powerful strides to reach top speed. He's slightly undersized for a defenceman at 6'0" and 180 lbs, but he makes up for it with tremendous vision, and quality passing.
He's known to use his speed and acceleration to join the rush, or create a controlled exit to quickly leave the defensive zone. If he can't skate the puck out of the zone, he's more than capable of making an accurate breakout pass. Unfortunately, he lacks a powerful slap shot in his arsenal, and is prone to occasional positional errors.
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. -
Exceptionally poised, mature, two-way defenseman…handles the puck well and likes to join the rush…plays with impressive confidence and is absolutely fearless with the puck on his stick…doesn’t possess a bomb of a shot, but knows how to put the puck on target...quite impressive top speed and acceleration, especially in offensive situations…not overly big and has some defensive positioning issues to sort out…minute-munching ability as this kid just has ice water flowing through his veins.
Director of European Scouting
"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."
Future Considerations: 24th
Hockey Prospect: 13th
Craig Button: 29th
Central Scouting Service, European Skaters: 6th
It appears as if Kylington has all the tools necessary to succeed, it's just a matter of whether or not he can transition into North-American hockey.
Initially, it was thought that he would be a sure-fire top-10 pick, even a possible fourth overall candidate, however it has to be said that his stock has taken a nosedive lately. Essentially, scouts are starting to classify him as a boom or bust type prospect. That being said, seeing as how he does possess an impressive set of skills, he might make for a smart pick late in the first round. Mobile defencemen are an undervalued asset in the NHL, and adding a quality defensive prospect to the current pool of blue liners could end up being a wise move by Trevor Timmins and co.
That is, of course, if Kylington remains on the board until the time Montreal takes to the podium, which very well may not be a realistic projection.