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2015 NHL Draft Player Profile: Swedish Defenseman Oliver Kylington Carries Elite Skating Abilities

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With just over a month until the NHL Draft, we have a look at Swedish defenseman Oliver Kylington

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It should come as no surprise, but one of the main prospects I have my eyes set on in this year's draft is from Sweden. I've been extremely high on this guy ever since I saw video of him earlier this season when he was playing in the SHL. Oliver Kylington didn't have the highest output in terms of scoring this year, but his skating and "first pass" abilities alone make him a lock to be taken in the first round, maybe even as a lottery pick (picks 1-14).

Having just turned 18 years old, Oliver Kylington still has a bit of work to do with his abilities to quarterback offensive plays, but shows immense talent with his 200-foot game. He simply cruises through each zone, and has the ability to lead a breakout quite well.

Player Profile:

Name: Oliver Kylington
Position: Defenseman
Born: May 19, 1997 -- Stockholm, Sweden
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Shoots: Left

Season Team League GP Goals Assists Points PIM
2012-2013 (15 y/o) Södertälje J20 SuperElit 39 3 10 13 12
Sweden U16 (all) International-Jr 11 4 3 7 4
2013-2014 (16 y/o) Färjestad J20 U20 Super Challenge 5 2 8 10 6
Färjestad ET 0 0 0 0 0
Färjestad J18 J18 Elit 2 1 2 3 2
Färjestad J20 SuperElit 21 5 16 21 22
Färjestad SHL 32 2 4 6 6
Sweden U17 (all) International-Jr 5 1 1 2 2
Sweden U18 (all) International-Jr 3 0 0 0 0
2014-2015 (17 y/o) Färjestad Champions HL 6 0 0 0 2
Färjestad J20 SuperElit 10 4 3 7 2
Färjestad SHL 18 2 3 5 4
AIK Allsvenskan 17 4 3 7 6


Kyle's Analysis:

I don't know what it is about this kid, but watching him just gets me excited. His skating abilities are elite, strong first stride, and very smooth transition-wise. I've looked at some video for him, and he's one of those defensemen who can get on his horse and carry the puck through the neutral zone like he's hell-on-wheels.

His passing abilities are crisp, he makes a quick and efficient first pass out of his zone, which is something the Red Wings (and most NHL organizations) really long for in a young player at any level. I'd like to see a bit more consistency from him offensively, as if he's going to be that sort of player, he will need to be a special teams weapon. I peg him as a potential top-four defenseman at the NHL level one day.

It's hard to find a style comparison for him, but if I had to pick anyone, his skating and passing abilities alone remind me a lot of Erik Karlsson when he was at his age.

Here is what TSN's Craig Button had to say about Kylington back in September:

The smooth skating Kylington was a regular in the Swedish Hockey league as a 16 year old player. Skating ability is excellent with an ease that allows him to beat the fore-check, transition from defense to offense and to jump into the offensive forays. Very good passer and his vision and smarts makes him a multiple threat because he can beat you multiple ways. Reminds one of former NHLer & fellow Swede, Calle Johansson
Source

Rafik Soliman of EliteProspects:

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.

Source

Rankings:

ISS Ranking: Not ranked in top 30

McKeen's Hockey Ranking: 27

NHL CSS Ranking: International 6

Kylington was at one point one of the top-rated Euro Skaters in this year's draft class, but his performance in recent tournaments had him slide down the rankings. Even with his sudden drop in production, Kylington is still a very valuable player, and I expect him to be taken anywhere from the 10-22 range.

Bottom Line:

His skating abilities are elite, but it's important to remember that Kylington has played on International ice, which is significantly larger than what is played in North America. With more surface, it's easier to be an elusive skater. The biggest question mark would be how he adapts to a smaller ice surface, and if his skating abilities would translate in less real estate to work with.

That being said, you still cannot ignore Kylington's abilities as a mobile defenseman (a growing asset in the NHL), his skating through the neutral zone is a valuable commodity as a potential top-four defenseman who could very well end up being an everyday offensive blue-line weapon. If Kylington is available at 19th over, Detroit should not hesitate to take him.

Highlights:

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