Here is everything you need to know about top prospect Oliver Kylington, the sixth ranked international skater ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Age on June 26: 18
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Current team: Farjestad Junior
International Scouting rank: 6th
Weight: 185 pounds
Twitter account: @Olliekdot
Jeff Marek’s take:
You have to love the skating, you have to love the offense but what scouts grouse about with Kylington is his consistency. Some nights it’s just not there. Wonderfully gifted skater, one of the best in the draft but is that enough right now to risk a high selection? NHL Comparable: Tyson Barrie
He’s had an interesting year
The highly-touted Kylington has had an up and down season. He started the season with Farjestad of the Swedish Hockey League before going to AIK of the second division on a loan. Kylington would later return to Farjestad where he would play on its junior team. In 10 games with the junior squad, he had four goals and three assists.
At the NHL’s midterm rankings for international skaters, Kylington was ranked first. But after his shaky year, he finds himself at the sixth spot entering the NHL Draft. Kylington’s draft stock may also have taken a hit when he wasn’t able to play for Sweden at this year’s world junior hockey championship. An injury against Canada in pre-tournament play kept him out for the entire tournament.
He’s drawn comparisons to a Norris Trophy winner
Scouts have marvelled at Kylington’s speed and skill. In an NHL.com story, the NHL’s director of European scouting, Goran Stubb, called him a “talented first-round prospect.”
“He’s an excellent, smooth skater. He’s an offensive defenceman with excellent vision and playmaking skills,” Stubb said. “He has very good eye-to-hand coordination, is dangerous on the power play. He has all the tools needed and is a finesse-type player.”
Randy Sexton, the Pittsburgh Penguins co-director of amateur scouting, sees some similarities between Kylington and fellow Swede Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.
“He doesn’t have Karlsson’s offensive capabilities, but from a skating perspective (they’re similar),” Sexton said. “(Kylington) is a terrific skater. You look at the way the game is played now, you need defencemen who are mobile with good hockey sense, can spread the puck around the ice well. He’s got good vision.
“He’s got to get a lot stronger, but he’s got all the makings of a real good puck-moving (defenceman).”
Quite the resume
Kylington was the youngest player to score in the Swedish Hockey League at 16 years, four months and 10 days when he potted the winner in his first-ever Farjestad game. He has also represented his country at last year’s world under-17 hockey challenge and the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament.
Hockey isn’t the only sport he plays either. Growing up, Kylington also played soccer and floorball.
“He (dad) didn’t play hockey when he was little; just for fun. He played handball,” Kylington told NHL.com. “He had a bit of a passion for hockey and when I was little I tried out some sports like soccer, hockey and floorball. I liked hockey and soccer. When I got to an age, I chose hockey and I stuck to it.
Kylington added that his mother has always been supportive of his choices. As a teenager, Kylington’s mother fled Eritrea during the civil war and moved to Sweden. His parents later met in Stockholm.
Lover of Vines
Kylington has a big social media presence with nearly 1,800 followers on Twitter. Although a lot of his tweets are in Swedish, it’s easy to tell that he’s a big fan of Vines — including several soccer ones.
His favourite TV shows are Entourage and The O.C.. In terms of music he likes Swedish House Mafia and Jay-Z and his shootout move is “forehand, backhand, five hole.”