Early morning news for y'all: Sweden's AIK announced that they will allow Flames 2015 draft pick Oliver Kylington to play in North America for 2015-16. The young blueliner had expressed a desire to play in North America, echoed by former Flame Hakan Loob, but his contractual obligations to AIK held him back.
That is no longer the case, as the team has released him according to (poorly translated) articles and tweets. Kylington has been granted the opportunity to come play in North America, whether it be for the Flames, the AHL Stockton Heat, or the Brandon Wheat, who hold his WHL rights.
AIK Sweden via Expressen paper will allow Oliver Kylington to come to NA to play next season. Be it #Flames , Stockton AHL or Brandon WHL— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) July 29, 2015
All three options would be beneficial for Kylington's development, and you could argue a case for each team, but only two of them are feasible. The Flames haven't been able to move dead weight out of the defensive corps (cough cough, Deryk Engelland, Ladislav Smid), and have almost no space for any prospect who is pro-ready. If he turns out to be an NHL player straight out of the box, then we'll all be laughing at the 29 teams who passed on him. We'd get to see him play with our other prize acquisition Dougie Hamilton, which is too good to be real.
Back to reality though. We also don't know if Kylington is suited to the NHL level yet, so it's probably best to look below for his North American landing spot. Stockton is probably the best option for Kylington talent wise, despite their own surplus of defenders. As it currently stands, the Heat will probably have Tyler Wotherspoon, Brett Kulak, Patrick Sieloff, Kenney Morrison, Ryan Culkin, and Keegan Kanzig in their ranks, excluding non-Flames prospects. It's probable that some of these guys will move around in the upcoming months (Wotherspoon might be the seventh defender in Calgary, while Kulak or Kanzig could see ECHL time), but there are still very few spots available.
The final option is the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings, who also drafted Kylington with the 60th overall pick in the CHL import draft. The league may be a bit below him in terms of talent, but he'll get an excellent chance to fine tune his skills for the NHL without the potential of being denied playing time. He'd get to play with Ivan Provorov, one of the other big defensive talents in the 2015 draft, and an otherwise stacked Wheaties roster which can make a serious Memorial Cup run this season.
Wherever Kylington lands, it will be good for him. As Loob said, a permanent place in tougher leagues is what Kylington needs to be on the fast track to the NHL. He's always been ahead of the curve in Sweden, playing two to three years above his age, so North America presents him with the opportunity to play with his peers.