54
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

FlamesNation prospect wrap-up: Tyler Parsons

Goaltending just never comes easy for the Flames.

Today’s focus is on Tyler Parsons, our preseason #1 prospect. One of the OHL’s best goalies during his time in that league, Parsons’ pro debut went a little south. Perhaps expectations were a tad high, but unconvincing numbers in the minors didn’t really leave a good impression.

So is he still the goalie of the future? Let’s find out.

Background

Parsons was a strong player in U.S junior leagues, eventually finding his way to London to join up with the Knights. He started to find his feet in his rookie season, eventually developing into one of the OHL’s strongest goalies.

The dominant 2015-16 London Knights team is most notable for the performances of Matthew Tkachuk, Mitch Marner, and Christian Dvorak, but Parsons quietly pushed the team to further glory. His .942 save percentage in the Memorial Cup resulted in him winning the tournament’s most outstanding goalie nod, as well as a spot on the all-star team.

Although the following year’s team was severely depleted, Parsons remained a bright spot, finishing with the highest SV% in the OHL. Parsons found another tournament to win, as he backstopped the Americans to a WJC gold medal. With nothing left to conquer, he left to the pros.

2017-18 story

Parsons began the year in Kansas City, splitting the net with Mason McDonald, although not for long. The Michigan native quickly made it clear that he was the better goalie with a lot of successive strong starts.

However, things began to get a bit wonky after that. An injury took away a lot of his playing time in November and December. The goalie situation above him started going weird, too. Eddie Lack’s demotion and eventual trade opened up a spot in Stockton, which was assigned to Parsons immediately after he became healthy.

Predictably, playing in a higher league fresh off injury isn’t a great way to get back into a groove, especially for a young goalie. Parsons struggled in his return, getting lit up to the tune of seven goals in his AHL debut.

Things didn’t really calm down from there on out. The Flames yo-yo’d him between the AHL and ECHL, trying to get him as many starts as possible, although Jon Gillies’ strong performances kept Parsons on the bench. Another injury kept him away from the ice. The Flames were much less rushed to find him a spot after that, especially given goaltending crises at the NHL level. He came back and played out the stretch for the Mavericks, closing out the season in quiet fashion.

The numbers

GP MIN SV% SA GA SV% rank (/41) SA rank GA rank
ECHL 27 1513 0.902 849 77 33 33 13
AHL 7 300.98 0.856 153 22 n/a (did not qualify) n/a n/a

Despite what his final SV% is, Parsons actually had a really good year. In a very goal-happy league, Parsons put up a .915 SV% 14 times in his 28 games, which is really positive. Half of the time, he was a good goalie in a league where it’s hard to be a good goalie

The negative side of that is that half the time, he wasn’t. A quarter of his games fall into the .850-.915 range, and the other quarter fall below. Like the chart signifies, he had very high highs and very low lows. Consistency was an issue for Parsons, who had one really good eight-game stretch of >.900 hockey, but was often bouncing between good and bad starts.

But a lot of the really low and often fluctuating numbers come during that weird period of getting injured and being shuffled between Missouri and California. Twenty-eight games really isn’t that large of a sample to definitively determine what the cause of him being bad (or good) was, but you feel that the overall weirdness of his season plays into his bad results.

And when you look at the KC Mavericks goalie mess, Parsons is still the best goalie to have at least played 10 games for them. The only other goalie to have a similar workload to Parsons is Mason McDonald, who finished with a .894 SV%. McDonald is a year and a half older than Parsons and already has a year of pro starter experience under his belt, for reference.

The future

Hopefully next year is a bit more stable for young Parsons.

Barring any surprises, he should be in Stockton full time next season splitting starts with one of David Rittich and Jon Gillies. The Flames’ goalie progression plan will push him to the AHL #2 spot, which should hopefully be where he stays for the whole season. At this age, sticking in one place is perhaps the best way to develop the young goalie.

Speaking of Rittich and Gillies, those two were 25 and 23 to begin this NHL season. Parsons was 19. Goalies take time and it’s nothing but positive that Parsons is already making small waves in the pros at his age. If he can remain healthy, watch out.

Previously

Juuso Valimaki | Nick Schneider | Adam Ruzicka | Matthew Phillips | D’Artagnan Joly | Glenn Gawdin | Zach Fischer | Dillon Dube | Filip Sveningsson | Eetu Tuulola | Adam Fox | Linus Lindstrom | Pavel Karnaukhov & Rushan Rafikov

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    It should be noted that in KC, Parsons was the #1 goalie to a profoundly bad team and was given very little support from the defense. I think it was obvious Parsons struggled, both with injuries and the move to Stockton was ill timed. I don’t think he was ready for Stockton, he may be shortly, but he needs a stable organization in which to develop. I hope this year will not stunt his development too much.

  • Cheeky

    I think he will be fine, think we can give him a mulligan due to injury and bounce between both leagues (and first pro year). Hopefully we hire a good goalie coach to work with him (keep Sigalet far away), let him get settled and hopefully injury free. High hopes on this one, he will be fine…

    • FL🔥MES

      Yup, fresh meat for Sigalet to sink his teeth into. I’m sure if Parsons has any weaknesses Sigalet will find them…

      It’s time to finish cleaning house Tre. The goalie carousel is an obvious problem and it has dragged on far too long.

    • cjc

      The Sigalet sucks narrative isn’t founded in fact. Let’s look at how he has handled Flames goalies in Calgary and The AHL:

      Mike Smith: 0.916% in Calgary (career .913)
      Brian Elliott: 0.910% in Calgary (career .912), but numbers worse since leaving.
      Chad Johnson: 0.910 in Calgary (career.910), numbers worse since leaving.
      Karri Ramo: .910% in Calgary (career .906)
      Jonas Hiller: .905% in Calgary (career .914), but that masks a stellar season that got Calgary to the playoffs (.918) and one that was ruined by injury (.879).

      Joni Ortio: Did really well in Abby under Sigalet (0.926%) but struggled after Sigalet left (.906%). Ortio’s NHL numbers improved under Sigalet (.904%) relative to whoever the goalie coach was in 2013-2014 (.891%).

      I think the problem is more that Calgary has been relying on old and/or mediocre goalies to get by, rather than anything Sigalet is doing. Sigalet, at worst seems to be having a neutral effect on the goalies.

      • cjc

        Also wanted to add, I don’t think we should give goalie coaches too much credit, good or bad… it’s nigh on impossible to statistically separate their impact on goalie performance.

      • Cheeky

        You’re right cjc. We should have kept Cameron as he didn’t really impact PP right? Watch our goalies during his time here and you will see a common theme with all these big goalies going down and staying down and being beat up high. Somehow he has survived the 2 last coaches, do some research on him and his experience and success (or lack there of). Yes Sigalet did good things with AHL goalies but that is a different league to NHL (remember both GG and Cameron were decent AHL coaches), success at some levels don’t always follow to other leagues just like successful junior/AHL players aren’t always stars in NHL. Trash away but Wash and NYR have it figured out…

        • Mickey O

          Jon Gillies is 6’5, but tries his very hardest to look as small as possible – be that on his knees or crouched down in net. Jordan Sigalet is 6’1, maybe he doesn’t know how to coach a tall goalie because he doesn’t have the same frame of reference.

          Jordan Sigalet is never going to mentioned in the same breath as great goalie coaches, so now is a perfect time to move on.

          • cjc

            and who are these great goalie coaches of whom you speak? Are they great because they had a chance to work with the best?

            All I’m saying is that goalie coaches are like, the 23rd biggest problem this organization needs to deal with. It doesn’t matter how good your goalie coach is if you keep giving them old and/or meh goalies to work with.

        • cjc

          I am sure you have spent hours watching Sigalet work with goalies at practice, and know exactly what his philosophy is. Plus there are all of those TV interviews he does. Also, Washington has Braden Holtby and The Rangers have a future HHoFer in Lundquist. Those guys are just good, they are not a product of good goalie coaches. No disrespect to Smith, but he isn’t on the same level as those two.

          Cameron, I was all in favour of not hiring, and you don’t need to look hard to find data that shows he shouldn’t run your power play.

          • Baalzamon

            Also, Washington has Braden Holtby and The Rangers have a future HHoFer in Lundquist. Those guys are just good, they are not a product of good goalie coaches. No disrespect to Smith, but he isn’t on the same level as those two.

            I agree with all of this, but a point of interest here is that Smith had the best save % of the three this season.

            Just saying.

  • FL🔥MES

    Goalies are creatures of habit. How could the organization think that bouncing him back and forth would be good for his development? Travelling alone probably wore the poor guy out.

  • Fat Tony

    This guy is the is what the Flames organization has been waiting for. It may take some time but he has the skills and the pedigree to become a future #1. Jonathan Quick, who Parsons molds his game after, didn’t start out as an elite goaltender. He worked at his craft everyday and earned that recognition. If Parsons can stay healthy and find some consistent time between the pipes then bridging the gap becomes our only concern (from a goal tending perspective of course).

    • JMK

      I’ve seen the Quick comparison quite so I checked his development stats. Quick’s draft +3 season was in split between AHL, ECHL & brief stint in NHL. ECHL numbers were 2.79 GAA and .905 sv% in 38 games played. AHL numbers were pretty good with 2.32 GAA and .922 sv% in 19 games. So his ECHL weren’t that much better than Parsons draft +2 numbers. I really like this kid, he’s competitive and athletic. Injuries have been frequent enough but sometimes players have a spell of injuries due to imbalances caused by the first one and it sets off a chain reaction, especially when these kids are playing through injuries to get drafted, make pro etc. Excited to see where he’s at next season.

  • T&A4Flames

    These comments are all so reminiscent of Gillies time here.
    Last year everyone was saying “trade Gillies, we have Parsons now” and of course peoples expectations and impatience blinds them to actual facts. Goalies take time to develop and there is no timeline to when they may become a star.
    Parsons, just like Gillies, is a very good goaltending prospect and people need patience with him.

  • Flamesfansince04

    The dude won a memorial cup with three guys who are now NHL regulars (during the regular season anyway), then he wins a U18 championship by means of a skills competition (AKA Shootout) which by the way should never be used to determine the winner of a tournament, but anyway, I digress.

    Point is, I think with some consistent surroundings and alot of training, this guy will go places.

  • buts

    Goalie is the hardest position to play in the nhl….patience, patience is the key. Just ask Johnnie Bower, Dom Hasek, JS Giguere, Craig Anderson, Mikka Kiprasoff and many many more that took a lot of years to become a #1.

    • deantheraven

      Truer words have not been writ, Buts. But… I think it’s not unreasonable to say Mason Macdonald is a Number Two goalie. And I mean Number Two, as in how we ask a toddler what ‘bathroom number’ they need to make.
      Jon gillies may mature in the ‘A’, or he may not.
      Rittich most likely will be an NHL goalie. Starter? We won’t know until after the trade deadline next season. Patience, patience…
      I remember an old comic with two vultures sitting in a dead tree, looking out over a wasteland. One says,” Patience my a$$, I’m gonna kill something NOW!
      Us fans are that vulture.

    • MDG1600

      Agreed about the time it takes to get comfortable as an NHL goalie. Rittich looks poised and comfortable but seems to struggle with consistency. Gillies on the other hand always seems a bit nervous. I like Gillies fundamentals better and if he matures and gains confidence he could be a real good NHL goalie. Only time will tell.

  • McRib

    Forwards the Flames would have if they didn’t regularly waste 2-3 rounders on drafting/trading for goalies…. Brayden Point (Mason MacDonald), Alex DeBrincat/Jordan Kyrou (Elliot Trade), Taylor Raddish/Vitaly Abramov (Parsons), etc. Imagine where we would be right now with Point and DeBrincat…. I’ll tell you where, still in the playoffs. It’s not like both of those players weren’t both 40+ NHLe players and certain picks at the time or anything.

    I’m not sold on Brad Treliving and think he is a better “talker” than an actual manager, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for one more summer, that said it’s become clear to me he has NO CLUE about goaltenders, even Mike Smith started the season off strong, but completely collapsed before his injury (go re-watch the Tampa home game if you don’t believe me), down the stretch for us. Just do us a favour Brad keep the goaltender picks/trade chips to the 4 Rounder or later the certainty of the draft falls off a cliff after those rounds, therefore thats when you start selecting the voodoo goalies. I almost didn’t even mention him continuing to employ Sigalet. Hahah

  • Mickey O

    According to the esteemed Eric Francis’ interview today, Treliving is okay with rolling the dice with the goaltenders that he has. Smith & Rittich on the Flames. Gillies and Parsons down in Stockton.

    Rebar also said that Rittich is the back-up, but he’ll be pushed. Peters didn’t really have decent goalies to work with in Carolina, and there’s no way that Smith plays near that many games next year.

  • freethe flames

    Unlike some fans I am prepared to be patient with both Gilles and Parson. Gilles has made progress; he has only two years of pro development. Parsons has 1 year of pro experience and people are saying he is washed up; give me a break. Part of the problem in the past has been rushing young goalies; not everyone is Murray and playing for the PP.

  • oilcanboyd

    On another topic: LA Kings signed Brad Morrison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3 year ELC. Morrison was at the Flames Development Camp in 2017. What gives? 75 points in 74 regular season games and 37 points in 16 playoff games. Sure he is 21 but so is Gawdin…

    • Baalzamon

      Generally if an overager barely hits 1.0 ppg that’s not a very good sign. Good for him getting a contract, but at this point Gawdin is clearly the superior player (and even then he isn’t super likely to be much of anything either).

    • freethe flames

      Here’s the current problem for BT; he’s at 49/50 NHL contracts and even if he wants to sign a CHL/NCAA/Euro FA to an entry level contract he has to be very selective and patient until the new year for contracts begins(I have no idea what to call it) ONce he decides who he is not going to resign or qualify then that number will change,

  • canesfan98

    All of this ripping of Sigalet reminds me of what happened in Winnipeg last year. The fans all seemed to want the coach fired, the GM on the hot seat, simply for being patient and developing his team, and placed their young goaltender’s (Hellebuyck) struggles on the goalie coach Flaherty. Give the man a little bit more time, and see what he can turn Gillies/Rittich/Parsons into. I’m not saying that Calgary will be the next Winnipeg, but the parallels are there