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Flames won't sign a defenseman because of his mental state


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Sam Jones
July 6, 2024  (9:05)
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Flames won't sign a defenseman because of his mental state
Photo credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames' defenceman Oliver Kylington remains a free agent, and his unresolved contract situation is stirring discussions, not just about his hockey skills but his mental health recovery.

The team's hesitation seems rooted in concerns over his health rather than his on-ice performance.
According to a report by Jim Parsons from The Hockey Writers, the crux of the matter lies in the contract duration. Despite Kylington's impressive track record, the Flames are wary of committing to a long-term agreement following his absence last season due to mental health concerns. He participated in the Player Assistance Program and missed a significant portion of the games.
"When asked what the hold up is, Conroy said it was about term. They love Kylington, but there are questions after he missed all but 33 games last season because of mental health issues. Giving him a long-term deal is not something they feel comfortable doing because they don't necessarily know he's fully healed."
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Kylington isn't just any player; he's a remarkable story of growth within the Flames' roster. Known for his agility and puck-moving prowess, he managed to score 9 goals and amass 31 points in the 2021-22 season. Despite playing only 33 games last season, his performance didn't notably decline, demonstrating his resilience and dedication.
The player has been open about his challenges, citing longstanding family issues that escalated, leading to mental health struggles. Kylington himself feels he's overcome these hurdles, thanks to the support he received.
"There are things that have going on in the family for many years, but which escalated to get worse and there were mental and psychological problems I suffered from . . . But for me, it led to mental illness. And I felt very bad about how I dealt with my problems and almost went into the wall and felt that now it's enough."

Kylington's request for a two-year deal, valued at $3 million annually, seems modest for his caliber. Yet, the reluctance to secure the second year could signal a lack of full support from the Flames, potentially pushing him to explore opportunities with teams more confident in his full recovery.
As this situation unfolds, it raises important questions about how teams support their players not just physically but mentally. Kylington's case is a pivotal one for the Flames, spotlighting the balance between business decisions and genuine player support. The resolution of this contract could set significant precedents for how players with similar challenges are treated in the NHL.
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6 JUILLET   |   120 ANSWERS
Flames won't sign a defenseman because of his mental state

Do you believe Kylington will be a member of the Flames next season?

Yes, he'll go back2117.5 %
No, he'll get another offer8772.5 %
See Results1210 %
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