The Calgary Flames picked Tyler Parsons 54th overall in the 2016 entry draft.
At the time it seemed an odd choice. The club had picked Mason McDonald 34th overall just 12 months earlier and already had bluechip goaltending prospect Jon Gillies in the system. The organization seemed set when it came to hopefuls in the crease.
But things start to make more sense when you take a closer look at Parson’s results. The best goalie in the OHL, Parsons helped backstop of the juggernaut London Knights to a Memorial Cup despite being relatively young.
A Brief History
The Chesterfield, Michigan native worked his way up through the US HPHL system as a young kid before jumping over to the OHL in 2014 as a 17-year-old. He played 33 games for the Knights that season, posting a team best .905 SV%. He took another step forward in 2015-16, jumping up to a league best .921 in 49 games before improving again to .925 en route to championship.
A .921 is a merely good save rate in the NHL, but in Canadian junior hockey it is absolutely stellar. The average SV% in the modern OHL hovers just below .900, making Parsons’ regular season save rate over 20 points better than the mean. In fact, Parsons’ .921 was the best save percentage of any goalie in the entire CHL with 30 or more games under his belt.
Read more: Tyler Parsons has developed patience in net
The good stuff doesn’t end there. In this article, I compared Parsons to his peers, his teammates and to fellow Flames second rounder Mason McDonald – he was better than them all.
So why did he last until the 50s in the draft? The only downside with Parsons seems to be his size – the league is trending towards goaltenders who are 6’4″ or taller and Parson’s only stands at 6’1″. He also came up from a relatively unknown system, so maybe he wasn’t on many scouts’ radar until recently.
Brock Otten has been writing about OHL Prospects for years and is our go-to source for kids coming out of Ontario. Here’s what he has to say about Parsons:
“He doesn’t possess ideal size in the crease, but he’s an incredible athlete who never gives up on plays. His mental focus is terrific for a young goaltender. Calgary already has some good young netminders in their system, but adding another is never a bad idea (given the bust rate of goalies). Heading back to London next year, Parsons should be a front runner for the OHL goaltender of the year and I’m hoping he’s given an opportunity to be the starter for team USA at the WJC’s. Another year with a +.920 save percentage is in the cards.”
Flames head scout Tod Button was interviewed on the FAN960 shortly after the draft. He also talked about Parson’s competitiveness:
“He’s highly athletic and he’s a super, super competitor. He needs some refinement in technique and some fundamentals, but we feel we have the development staff goaltending-wise to put that stuff in place. You can’t teach the other stuff.”
What Comes Next?
Parsons boasts incredible results but he’s still years away from the NHL. He’ll head back to the OHL this season to once again backstop the London Knights. He will also likely appear as the US team’s starter in the World Junior Hockey Championship.
To date, Parsons has only played in 82 games at the junior level, or just a single season’s worth of contests in the NHL. That means he still has a lot to prove. That said, another better than average season out of the young netminder will move him into the bluechip prospect category.
|#20 – Ryan Culkin||#19 – Linus Lindstrom|
|#18 – Morgan Klimchuk||#17 – Mason McDonald|
|#16 – Brett Pollock||#15 – Matthew Phillips|
|#14 – Dillon Dube||#13 – Emile Poirier|
|#12 – Brett Kulak||#11 – Mark Jankowski|
|#10 – Brandon Hickey||#9 – Daniel Pribyl|
|#8 – Adam Fox|