Oliver Kylington missed the full 2022–23 season last year due to a personal matter, and the Flames just announced that his absence will continue at least for now. The Flames will certainly miss Kylington, as he is an incredible puck mover and skater, and provides much-needed speed to the lineup. The Flames fanbase wishes all the best to Kylington, and they are very excited for the day he returns.
In the meantime, the Flames have decisions to make regarding who their sixth defenceman will be if Kylington’s absence continues during the season. There are many options available, but who will the Flames pick? We asked, you answered.
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Who will take the spot as the sixth defenceman?
We presented the following poll with players who are deemed as the most viable options.
Leading in the responses is Jordan Oesterle with roughly 48% of the votes. Oesterle is the front-runner for this position currently as it seems like he was signed for this specific purpose. He was signed to a one-year deal during the offseason and has played both on the left and right sides. That makes moving Oesterle around the lineup a lot easier as it gives the Flames a lot more flexibility. Despite that, he is a very different player than Kylington, as Oesterle put up two goals and nine assists last season with Detroit.
Gilbert got the second most votes with 26% of the share. Gilbert could easily end up taking this spot as well, as last season he was seen as the one of the go-to guys to put into the lineup when there was an injury on defence. Gilbert played 23 games for the Flames last year. One thing that can not be denied about Gilbert is that he is a very tough customer—in those 23 games, he fought five times.
Now this would be a treat. 24% of responses wanted Jeremie Poirier to be the sixth defenceman. He played an excellent season with the Wranglers last year, and he would bring a similar playing style as Kylington if he were to be brought up the roster, however, it may be a little too soon for him to join the big league. He has only played one full season in the AHL and it has been noted that there are still some things that need to be developed in his game before he makes that jump. However, he is definitely on the right track and it would not be surprising to see him compete for a roster spot next year.
Only 2.4% of responses picked one of these three players. And it makes sense, as it seems like this is really just a three-horse race. It would take multiple injuries in the lineup for any of these three players to be called up. However, training camp is just starting, and if any of the three impresses, they may move up in the list as to who is next in line.
Time to prove it
It is up to the defencemen mentioned in this post to take advantage of this opportunity and impress in training camp if they want to be the first call-up. We will know soon enough who will take the spot if Kylington is to miss time; however, pay close attention to preseason lineups and pairings, as it may give a sign as to who the Flames see as the next man up.
Photo from @CalgaryWranglers on Twitter.