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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Prospect wrap up: Tyler Parsons

On draft day 2016, the Flames double dipped and selected another London Knight with their second pick of the draft. Picking goaltender Tyler Parsons raised a bit of controversy. Perhaps people were feeling cautious about the Flames’ incredibly spotty history of drafting goalies.

But even when the pick was made, it was hard to disagree with it. Parsons has been a stud thus far in his career. He’s been the OHL’s best goaltender two years running and picked up a few pieces of hardware, both team and personal, along the way. He’s a shot of adrenaline for the club’s goaltending depth.

(Ryan would also like to point out that he has some sweet tattoos.)

Brief history

Parsons began his career with the hilariously named Little Caesars U16 team in the High Performance Hockey League, struggling to find his feet in his first year. However, he improved drastically, going from second worst to second best goaltender in the HPHL, and getting the attention of the London Knights.

In his OHL rookie year, he forced the coach’s hand and split starting duties with Michael Giguovaz, two years his elder. His real breakout year was 2015-16, when he became one of the OHL’s top goaltenders and backstopped the Knights to the Memorial Cup. This paragraph alone doesn’t do Parsons justice, so you should read what Kent had to say about him way back in the summer.

After being selected by the Flames at the draft, USA hockey also began to take notice. Parsons was trusted with the starting job for the Americans at the World Juniors, and rewarded them with a gold medal: a bittersweet moment for the Flames/Canada fans.

2016-17 performance

There’s no goalie NHLe, so we’re going to compare his stats relative to the rest of the OHL. Of the 40 goalies who faced at least 300 shots (rough estimate for 10 games), Parsons was ridiculously good.

All data from prospect-stats.

adjGSAA adjGSAA/30 SV% HDSV% MDSV% LDSV%
All situations (rank) 24.18 (3rd) 0.717 (1st) 0.923 (1st) 0.769 (21st) 0.895 (2nd) 0.947 (3rd)
5v5 (rank) 16.99 (5th) 0.664 (1st) 0.931 (1st) 0.8 (17th) 0.902 (3rd) 0.951 (6th)

Well, ridiculously good except for one category. His high danger SV% was pretty low, even for his standards. In 2015, Parsons was ninth (all) and 11th (5v5) in that category. In all situations and at 5v5, Parsons dropped 73 and 41 points from last year, respectively.

That’s a bit concerning, but it may just be random variance. He either moderately improved or remained stagnant in other categories, so a drop in HDSV% might just be a blip on the radar. Parsons was also 22nd and 20th in HD shots against and HD goals allowed, so perhaps it’s a sample size issue. Given his past performances, I’m not too worried.

Everything else is looking great though. This kid is a brick wall in the OHL.

Final thoughts

Parsons is an older prospect, and will be 20 in September, making him both eligible for the AHL and OHL.

The goaltending situation is still a bit murky – do David Rittich or Jon Gillies become the NHL backup? Is Chad Johnson back next year? – but for my money, I think Parsons starts his year in Stockton. He has nothing left to prove in the OHL, and with a spot open in the AHL, Parsons is probably going to get the job. Mason McDonald hasn’t done much in the ECHL to earn it, and neither has Nick Schneider in the WHL. Perhaps some net stability will take the Heat to higher levels. It’ll be exciting.