For the second time in three drafts, the Calgary Flames selected a goaltender in the second round of the 2016 National Hockey League Draft. However, rather than grabbing a raw goaltender based on their perceived potential (as they did in 2014 with Mason McDonald), the Flames selected one of the most accomplished young netminders in major-junior hockey in Tyler Parsons.
The draft capped off a whirlwind season for the Michigan-born netminder, following an OHL championship and a Memorial Cup crown.
“It’s been a crazy month,” said Parsons at Flames development camp. “Win the
Memorial Cup, and then get drafted to Calgary. It’s been pretty
awesome, still taking it all in from the Mem Cup and here now.”
The second goalie taken in the 2016 Draft – following Carter Hart – Parsons wasn’t even in Buffalo for the festivities, despite his high draft rankings.
“I figured I wasn’t going in the first
round, so I just stayed home with family and friends,” said Parsons. “Had about 90
people over to my house and watched it on a big projector screen. It
was pretty cool, saw all the people that got you there. So that’s
what I did, and I had a lot of fun doing that.”
Parsons didn’t know exactly when he would be selected in the draft, though he got a feeling that he would go right around where he did (at 54th overall).
“There was a couple teams that were
really interested in me and it was really weird, they picked right in
a row,” said Parsons. “Calgary was up and I just kinda got a gut feeling
that I’d see my name up on the board. It was a pretty cool
experience. Everyone went crazy. It was awesome.”
Parsons compares himself to the athletic goaltending styles found in Braden Holtby and Jonathan Quick. He notes that patience and mental preparation are two of the things he’s worked on, something that’s come in handy while tending goal for a high-octane offensive team like the London Knights.
“We had really good offense last season and so there’d be games
where I’d see 20 shots in the first period or two shots in 15 minutes,
so it’s definitely a mind game and you’ve kind of got to get the
right mindset through the season and just be prepared for one of
those games,” said Parsons, reminiscing about a one-sided Memorial Cup victory against Brandon. “A game like Brandon, we beat them 10-2 or something like
that, and the shots were pretty even on the board so, it’s one of
those things where as a goalie, you’ve kind of got to make the save
when your team needs it.”
A late 1997-born goaltender, Parsons is headed back to tend goal for the Knights for at least the 2016-17 season. He could go back for the 2017-18 campaign as an overager, but a lot of that depends on his progression, London’s needs in net, and whether the Flames have an obvious pro opening for him in their developmental system.