Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

FlamesNation prospect wrap-up: Tyler Parsons

Hey, did you hear that the Flames are struggling with finding a long term starter?

Tyler Parsons, second round pick of the 2016 draft, has been projected to be that starter ever since being drafted. His pro career thus far has taken odd turns and journeyed through many peaks and valleys, but can he still be that guy?

When we last checked in

Parsons jumped to the pros as a 20-year-old despite having a year of OHL (overage) eligibility left.

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His season was a weird one. Despite starting off hot in the ECHL, he sustained an injury that took away the better part of two months. The Flames shuffling their goalie options opened up a spot for him in the AHL, where he went immediately after becoming healthy, but he struggled in the tougher league.

From there on out, the Flames shuffled him between the AHL and ECHL, often with little success. Another injury kept him in Kansas for good, where he closed out the year.

2018-19 story

With the goaltending situation clearing up, Parsons found himself playing backup behind Jon Gillies in Stockton.

But things were still rocky. Parsons suffered from a couple of injuries, playing only six games in the 2018 portion of the 2018-19 season. He returned in January, playing six games, but saw less and less of the ice. From February onwards, he only factored into eight games despite suiting up as a backup in many of Stockton’s games. Likely precautionary, but it was kind of strange to see Gillies flailing with Parsons being left to collect dust.

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Numbers & Growth

League GP Min SV% SA GA
2018-19 AHL 20 1087 0.898 659 67
2017-18 AHL 7 300 0.856 153 22
2017-18 ECHL 27 1513 0.902 849 77

It’s pretty hard to get a solid grasp of what Parsons’ season was given the circumstances he found himself in. We’ve already covered his irregular playing schedule (Parsons didn’t even meet the AHL’s definition of a qualified goaltender, finishing 360 minutes away from that mark), but we also have to consider the pretty lacklustre defence Stockton had all season. Parsons saw, on average, 32 shots come his way every night. On five occasions, he saw more than 40 shots head his way, including two games where he saw 50 shots against. To really put an exclamation point on it, none of those games were overtime games.

From what we do have, it’s a mixed bag. Parsons evidently struggled early on in the year, having a few good games followed by just as many bad ones. His final seven games of the season were mostly positive, finishing over 0.900 SV% and allowing three goals or fewer in all but one disaster game.

Without much to assess, there’s really no conclusions that can be made. He can be good, and he can be bad. We need to see more to figure out which of those labels he is more often.

What’s next?

Stockton’s goaltending situation next season is complex. Gillies, Parsons, and Artyom Zagidulin are, as of this writing, all projected to be in the AHL to begin the season. Who fits where is going to be a tough jigsaw puzzle.

I feel Gillies is likely out, and the net is split between Zagidulin and Parsons, with Parsons eking out a few more starts. The Flames seem committed to developing him as a #1 goaltender, so he’ll probably see the lion’s share of work. We’ll get a clearer goalie picture as next season approaches, but that’s my guess as to what happens for now.

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  • Albertabeef

    Gillies use down the stretch down the stretch had absolutely nothing to do with Parsons. Rittich was playing hurt according to the team, so they wanted to keep Gillies loose and ready in case we needed him in our playoffs. I know some people find it hard to understand but it makes total sense to me.

  • Jobu

    Kid will be the season opening starter with the heat this year with Gillies backing up the club in the pros.

    It will be Parson’s job to lose. If Zagidulin pushes him down to backup duties or to the ECHL then you can probably write him off as a pro.

    • ProbertWasKing

      You’re out to lunch. Goalies take time to develop. Look at mr. Winnington In st. Louis. He was 4th on the depth chart at the beginning of the season.

      • Jobu

        I said “Starter with the Heat”… is it NOT so far fetched for a 21 year old to start in the AHL?

        Or were you referring to Gillies as the backup. That guy’s been toiling in the AHL for too many seasons now, and the Flames want to know what they have. Hes on a 1 way contract, and the Flames don’t want to lose him to waivers and can’t to spend big on goaltending. He will be the backup to Rittich to start the year. And if he flounders, THEN you will see a deal for a backup.

        • Jobu

          Ah you meant writing him off. Sorry!

          Maybe you’re right, but you cant use Binnington as an example. That guys was inches away from being written off by the organization. He was dressed as a necessity. And then he made a deal with the Malebolgia – One Stanley cup for eternal damnation of his soul.

  • Baalzamon

    Parsons has all the skills and athleticism. When he’s on you can tell he has it in him to be a very good NHL goalie.

    The trouble is… “when he’s on.” He’s off too often (or else injured, which also happens a lot). The ingredients are all there though.

  • SydScout

    “Without much to assess, there’s really no conclusions that can be made” – I thoroughly concur. In goalie terms he’s a kid. There is absolutely no point trying to figure out anything about Parsons until he has a large number of games under his belt, and he has a few extra years in the big leagues.

    I find myself really cheering (not rooting…that means something completely different down under) for this guy particularly after his ballsy move to talk about his struggles. I reckon he’s tougher than we know, something I don’t want to see more of from this playing group.

    • Luter 1

      I agree, the quoted injuries, not really injuries, more with him getting himself straightened out. If he gets himself in right mindset there is no doubt he has the tools. To me Gillies – big but hasnt shown a lot of athleticism compared to Parsons.
      I say take a chance and run with what we’ve got for tending and go out and find some talented toughness. Playoffs proved we are too soft.

      • everton fc

        Gillies weaknesses – pointed out by SF over the years – have not improved dramatically enough to make him an NHL-ready #2. We have no NHL-ready #2, in the system. If Parsons can get back to some sort of normalcy in his career, I think he’s the potentially better goalie. And I still think McDonald warrants one last chance, after a decent ECHL season.

        Alas, I think McDonald’s gone. And Parsons will be the #2, and should be, at this point.

  • BendingCorners

    BT needs to either find a solid NHL netminder to partner with Rittich or the team just rolls the dice and hopes one of the AHL goalies catches lightning in a bottle. Pretty sure I prefer the first option, but there are maybe 20 of those on the market, and the appealing ones will likely sign with their current team or move to Florida. Lightning in a bottle may be what the team chases next year.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    Parsons has/had some serious demons he has been working on. Depression and substance abuse have been an unfortunate problem for this young lad. Lehner got past his demons and hopefully Parsons will as well. He is a top level goalie when his head is on straight. Not a wasted draft pick, the kid will be a star if the club takes the time to work with him….which they are.

  • buts

    Parsons has the tool set to be another Binnington who is 25 years old….be patient. Now how Gillies got a 1 way contract is totally confusing, why because he’s 6’6”?

      • everton fc

        I actually hope Gillies silences us all. Can you imagine if he and Rittich could somehow form a solid 1/2 – how much cap space that would save us? We have to hope Gillies can play that role. Risky, for sure, but here’s hoping (frightened myself, just typing this reply!)

  • freethe flames

    So the contracts for Johnsson4 x3.4m and Kapanen 3×3.2m are offical; Dubas finally kept some contracts in check. This should keep Bennetts number reasonable.