FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #8 Tyler Parsons

Ever since Miikka Kiprusoff retired, the Flames have been stuck for goaltending help. Veteran stopgaps have worked to varying degrees of success, but there’s been nothing long-term in place. Tyler Parsons, however, with an astounding junior league pedigree, could end up being just that guy.

At just 20 years old, though, Parsons still has a ways to go. The 6’1, 185 lb. goaltender comes in at eighth on our top 20 prospects list: a drop from his previous unanimous number one ranking in 2017, but still with a lot of potential.

How did we get here?

Playing for Little Caesars U18 team (because Michigan) in the High Performance Hockey League in 2013-14 as a 16-year-old, Parsons registered a .918 save percentage over 16 games: the second best goalie in the league. He made the jump to the OHL as a 17-year-old, posting a .905 save percentage over 33 games: tied for 13th in the league, and second among rookies.

With a Sept. 18 birthday, Parsons ended up being one of the oldest possible available picks for the 2016 NHL draft – if he had been born a mere few days earlier, he would have been eligible to be taken in 2015. This probably worked out in his favour, though, as during 2015-16 – his draft year as an 18-year-old – he posted a .921 save percentage over 49 games, tied for the second best save percentage across the OHL that season. He also had a .925 save percentage over 18 playoff games, leading the way, and topped it all off with a Memorial Cup win. A month later, the Flames drafted him in the second round, 54th overall.

In 2016-17, he built on that stellar individual performance, posting a .925 save percentage over 34 games, again with the second best save percentage across the entire OHL (and best among starters). He also put on a stellar performance helping the United States capture gold in the 2017 World Juniors, with a .917 save percentage over five games, including a clutch shootout performance to seal the deal. He topped off his final year in junior with a .922 save percentage over 14 playoff games, the top goalie of the playoffs, even as the Knights fell in the second round to the Erie Otters.

With pretty much nothing left to prove in junior and no reason to play an overage season, Parsons turned pro for 2017-18.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

As a rookie goalie with enough guys with more experience ahead of him on the depth chart, Parsons spent most of his 2017-18 playing in the ECHL, but got some AHL experience as well thanks to injuries throughout the organization (though it’s worth noting he had his own injury to deal with earlier in the season).

League Games played SV%
ECHL 28 .902
AHL 7 .856

The numbers certainly aren’t as glowing as his time from junior, but it’s absolutely worth remembering that he is a rookie professional who did not experience smooth sailing throughout his first year, which was already going to be a major adjustment for him.

For a deeper dive into Parson’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup on him here.

Those in the know

Cail MacLean, Stockton’s new head coach who not too long ago was a head guy at the ECHL level, noted the level of work it’s going to take Parsons as he enters his second professional season:

I think that you saw last year that this is part of his growing process but the one thing that I would really highlight about Tyler is not only that he has desire and work ethic to put into it, but also make sure that he’s available and he’s willing to learn which I think is something that he’s shown with Colin Zulianello, our goaltending coach. There’s so many great things about what Tyler does, and I think it’s about learning to adapt to our pro game – even moreso than a skater. I think he’s got such great athleticism that was something he could really rely on at the junior level, but now he’s gonna have to get into even more structure than he’s had and utilize that to win his battles and then when he needs his athleticism he can put it to use, but it’s a process that I think started well but it’s going to be an ongoing process.

Stockton’s Finest had the chance to see Parsons’ first AHL games, where he left a strong initial impression:

I only saw Parsons a few times last year as he only played seven games for the Heat. He is aggressive, coming out of his crease to challenge shooters and decrease angles. He is quick to his feet when he goes down. He plays bigger that his 6’1” frame.

On the horizon

Parsons will turn 21 in just under a month, and he still has two years left on his entry-level deal. There’s absolutely no pressure on him at this stage of his career: he’s still finding his footing, and he’s only fourth on the depth chart, behind Mike Smith, David Rittich, and Jon Gillies. He may be called on for meaningful AHL action, but unless total disaster strikes, that should be his highest stakes for 2018-19 – reasonably intense, but not the weight of the world.

Seeing how many AHL games he gets in will be interesting, as well as seeing just how much he can improve his numbers. Because while he probably won’t be able to post performances as excellent as he did in junior, a good professional season is well within the realm of possibility: and hopefully, it’ll be what Parsons shows the Flames organization over the course of the next year.

#20 – Martin Pospisil #19 – Demetrios Koumontzis
#18 – Emilio Pettersen #17 – Filip Sveningsson
#16 – Milos Roman #15 – Dmitry Zavgorodniy
#14 – D’Artagnan Joly #13 – Adam Ruzicka
#12 – Linus Lindstrom #11 – Glenn Gawdin
#10 – Morgan Klimchuk #9 – Jon Gillies


        • freethe flames

          I am sure he learnt a lot about being a pro, about the difference in pro shooters vs CHL. Maybe there were things in his CHL game prep that don’t work in the AHL, maybe life style who knows but if he did not learn last year the he has little hope of being an NHL goalie. Having coached young men out of high school and watch them develop at the University level; you learn a lot about your body, your pregame routine, your mental preparation etc in just a short year. If you don’t you get recruited over very quickly.

        • TradeBrodie

          Baalzamon, c’mon. I use that thing between your ears, and I’m not talking about your beak to spew stupidity. Parsons learnt what its lime to play the pro game. Not to be on a powerhouse OHL team or a very dominant National team. If he did not learn this past season, the Flames would be better off to cut ties now.

  • freethe flames

    Job 1 for Parsons; stay healthy. At the moment the Flames have a bonafide NHL starter and 3 guys who could win the back up job and he is one of them. If he clearly wins the job in the preseason he should get the job but if there is any doubts he needs to play in the AHL. A 60/40 split with either Gilles(most likely) or Rittich would be a good way to go. But if he gets on a run let him play more. Anyone know anything about the AHL goalie coach?

    • Avalain

      I personally hope that he doesn’t get the backup position this year. I’d rather he get a lot more playing time in the AHL and take a step forward there. I wouldn’t mind a couple games for him at the end of the season after we clinch the presidents trophy (too optimistic?).

  • Raffydog

    The only time I saw him play was during the young guns tourney last year and he was beaten like a rented mule by beer league competition, so not holding my breath on this prospect.

  • Just.Visiting

    He has a history of winning in high pressure situations. The intangibles it takes to do that cannot be taught. I’d have him higher on this list because of the potential upside, but understand the placement.

  • Just.Visiting

    On a completely different note, the scammy I’ve won a jackpot pop up ad is back. What part of the user base despises these is unclear at this stage? Wait-is it only me and I’m making negative comments about a real jack pot?

  • FuNky ANGER

    Just taking a quick look at a few NHL goalies that played some time in the ECHL
    Jonathan Quick – 38 Games .905 SAV%
    Braden Holtby – 12 Games .911 SAV%
    Devan Dubnyk – 43 Games .921 SAV%
    Scott Darling – 32 Games (2012-13) .907 SAV%

    Parsons had a .902 SAV% in 28 games last season, in which he was injured. I’m not saying that he becomes as good a Quick but it’s interesting to note his SAV% in the ECHL is similar to Quick’s even though Parsons had injuries and was a year younger than Quick when Quick played his ECHL games. Mind you in the same season that Quick played in the ECHL he also played 19 games in the AHL and posted a .922 SAV%. But once again he was a year older and probably not as banged up as Parsons who posted a .856 as noted above. But larger sample size.

    Also neat to see Devan Dubnyk have a .921 SAV% in the ECHL but in the same year in the AHL he played 4 games and posted a .855. Similar to Parsons in 3 less games. I know sample size is small, but interesting none the less.

  • Off the wall

    Parsons switched to black pads.
    And they are some beautiful..
    Atta boy Parsons, give em’ less to see.

    He’s going to have a better season. He’s a winner in my opinion..

    • FL?MES

      They say shooters can find holes a spilt second sooner with black pads and a white background. However, some goalies believe that refs blow the whistle sooner because it’s harder for them to find a puck with black pads. Thoughts?

      • Off the wall

        I think if a goalie feels good and looks good, it makes all the difference in their mental makeup. Those new pads and gear are gorgeous. I’d feel great wearing those. I’m sure that’s what Parsons has in mind.

        With today’s game, I doubt white makes a big difference against the backdrop of the net. Although white in my opinion, makes the 5 hole look bigger than it is.

      • The Fall

        Remember when Elliott switched mid season from black to white…? I think that shows a weak mental aspect. If this kid wants to look cool and feel confident: go for it.

      • wot96

        Then the goalies should be wearing some sort of black/grey/white camouflage pattern to limit the ability of the shooter to see the hole and the refs to see a loose puck. If it were that easy, somebody would already be marketing these look bad/save good pads.

    • freethe flames

      Like you I am hoping this gets done sooner than later. This team does not need any distractions come training camp. There is still a month left before camp and I trust it gets done. What I’m hoping is that the guys from away are starting to gather in town; finding accommodations getting to know each other away from the rink, getting used to the altitude, and playing shinny together. The one that’s weirder still is Shinkaruk; what kind or bargaining power can he have.

          • mrroonie

            Jankowski has 25 points in 73 NHL games (0.342 PPG) and is considered to be a longer term prospect just coming into his prime while Rychel, who has 14 points in 41 games (0.344 PPG), is a player who is considered to have underachieved as a pro even though he was drafted a year later. When Janko entered his draft plus 5 season he had 40 fewer games and 14 fewer points than Rychel does.

            Players develop at different rates and Rychel’s development seems to be on a similar timeline to Janko’s. Given the right opportunity Rychel could turn out to be the type of player that was expected when he was picked in the top-20.

  • MDG1600

    Goalie is the toughest position to predict NHL success and if success comes it is often when they are older – even 25,26. I think it to early to declare any of the goalie prospects better or worse. Only time will tell us who can stop the most pucks at the NHL level.

    • Rudy27

      I know a lot of people are high on Parsons compared to our other goalie prospects ( and I am too) . But as with our skater prospects, I just want a few of our prospects to rise to the occasion and become high quality NHL pro for the Flames, no matter who they are!

  • cjc

    I think the FN crew had Parsons a bit too high as the #1 prospect last year, but equally he might be a bit low as the #8 prospect this year – are they really in agreement that Spencer Foo is a better prospect? Of course, it’s difficult to compare skaters with goalies.

    If Rittich ends up as Smith’s backup due to not being waivers eligible, then the bonus would be a real competition between goaltending prospects in the AHL.

    • seve927

      I’ve always liked ranking prospects by how willing I’d be to include them in a trade. Even though he didn’t have a great season, he’d still be in my top 2 or 3 guys that I wouldn’t move on from right now.

  • Off the wall

    Here’s some news.
    I’m getting a hitch installed on my new (old) truck.
    I’m getting it painted Red and adding a few flames on it.
    It should look pretty sharp and I’m sure it will make me feel great.

    I’m sure that’ll translate into a few snarly comments from our locals here ..and judging from the tough crowd on FN, some more trashes..

  • cjc

    Flames have traded Shinkaruk for Rychel. Another 2013 first rounder plays for the Flames… I remember when everyone wanted to trade for him when he was Tampa Bay property. Now they just need to sign him, obviously wasn’t going to happen with Shinkaruk.

        • cjc

          Bad news for Klimchuk, not necessarily the team. Klimchuk was already ahead of Shinkaruk on the fwd. depth chart (he played LW and C if I’m not mistaken). Rychel is another guy who can push from below, and his NHL track record is not too shabby (14 pts. in 41 NHL games with 4th line minutes). Pro-rated, that is 28 pts. across a full season, I would take that from someone in a 4th line role. At worst it helps the AHL squad, Rychel seems like a modest upgrade on Shinkaruk. And hey, if you value size and snarl, Rychel is bigger than Klimchuk and Shinkaruk with more PIM.

        • everton fc

          I don’t think so, necessarily. Rychel’s not been able to crack an NHL lineup (nor has Czarnik, for that matter). Klimchuk will will get a chance in camp – 4th line/LW – right alongside Mangiapane (to me, Hathaway has the inside track at that role position) and maybe Rychel, if he signs here.

          Competition’s good, for all parties…

  • SouthernFlame

    I saw Parsons play late last season in the ECHL and the kid was down up down up side to side super quick! I liked what I saw! I hope he kills it in the AHL this year

    • Kevin R

      I like his game infinitely more than Gilles game. Gilles goes down & stays there until we exit our zone. I never followed Gilles in College, so not sure that was his style back then or the hip replacement has caused this habit.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        It is an interesting question. I seem to remember that Gillies first 4 games in the AHL were impressive before he got injured. I am wondering if he has had to change his style. He is a mountain of a man but plays small. I thought he had some really bad games in the NHL but I am not ready to give up on him. On the other hand, Parsons health worries me since he has had several lingering ailments. It may be as simple as changing his training routine or he may just be unlucky. I think Parsons will have a better season in the AHL than he did in the ECHL.

  • FL?MES

    Prospects probably aren’t to happy now when they find out that they’ve been traded to the Flames organization. They must know it’s going to be tough to land a job in the NHL with our current roster. This is a good thing and it’s about time.