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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2019: #12 Tyler Parsons

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

A couple of years ago, Tyler Parsons was the cream of the crop. He was #1 in the FlamesNation prospect rankings. He took a bit of a tumble his first pro season, but still landed at a very respectable 8th last year.

The skid hasn’t stopped. Tyler Parsons comes in at 12th in our 2019 prospect rankings, and the pressing question is this: will he be able to turn it back around or will he be the next in a long line of failed Calgary Flames goalie prospects?

How did we get here? 

Parsons has come a long way since his days in Chesterfield, Michigan. He burst onto the scene in the Ontario Hockey League as an undrafted goalie in 2014-15 for the London Knights. Between that point and getting drafted 54th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, he (and the rest of the Knights) won the OHL Championship and the Memorial Cup, with Parsons being named the top goaltender during that time.

As a follow-up, he went out and backstopped Team USA to a gold medal at the World Juniors. Everything was coming up Milhouse. Then, he turned pro.

His first season was derailed by injuries, and he was never able to get his footing again in the ECHL. He played 28 games for Kansas City, and managed to get into seven games with the Stockton Heat, but the numbers weren’t anything to write home about.

Instead, the major story was after the season. Parsons opened up about his mental health struggles, in an honest and earnest admission about the challenges he was facing. It was a very brave admission and was the kind of story which felt like it could fuel him to a return to his junior greatness.

It was not meant to be. This season was even rockier for him, as he didn’t end up playing enough games to be qualified statistically on the AHL’s goaltending leaderboard.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein 

On the bright side, Parsons found himself squarely in the American Hockey League, no longer having to endure the conditions of the ECHL.

On the other hand, the numbers were not kind to him.

Parsons played 20 games for the Heat, and came away with a .898 SV%. There are two ways to look at that. The first is that as standalone stats, those aren’t pretty. However, digging deeper, there is reason to not lose faith in Parsons.

The majority of those games came in the 2019 calendar year, because 2018 was the year that was completely swallowed up by injuries. The first 10 games Parsons played last season, he was below .900 SV% half the time.

However, the later games proved more encouraging (as they also did for Gillies, the defenders of the Stockton Heat, and generally the team as a whole). He went above .900 SV% eight of his last 10 games, and looked pretty okay doing so.

All of this is to say that Parsons may be able to get his mojo back, or he may not. There’s no way to tell from his sample size.

Those in the know 

An encouraging sign is that the coaching staff down in Stockton believe that Parsons could be ready for a big season. Per head coach Cail MacLean:

He’s very hard-working. He’s got a lot of habits that makes for a good pro hockey player. He has had some bad luck in terms of injuries and missing some time, but at the same time I think he’s carried himself through it very well and though his numbers don’t reflect it, I feel his brand of hockey – what’s he’s done to understand how his game can apply to the pro level, and how he’s worked with Colin Zulianello…to make sure that he evolves his game, and I think he’s done a good job of that – so I think he’s really primed to be in a good position. And I thought that he looked good in development camp, so I have a lot of confidence in Tyler as a person and as a player and a lot of that is in the foundation of his work ethic.

He also mentioned that it’ll be important for Parsons to play consistently, but figuring that out is a part of a larger conversation between Stockton and Flames management after training camp.

On the horizon

Parsons kind of needs a big season to show the Flames there was merit in selecting him 54th back in 2016. Will he be able to do it? The heart wants to say yes, but the brain says “show me first.”

He’s an easy kid to root for, as alluded to by MacLean. It would be great to see him succeed this year. Not only because he’s a Flames prospect, but just because it would be awful to see injuries and personal demons rob such a great junior goaltender of a pro career.

Previously

#20 – Lucas Feuk #19 – Josh Nodler
#18 – Linus Lindstrom #17 – Carl-Johan Lerby
#16 – Artyom Zagidulin #15 – Demetrios Koumontzis
#14 – Dustin Wolf #13 – Eetu Tuulola

      • Derzie

        You hit the nail on the head there Big Chef. Like when the words ‘luck’, or ‘hockey gods’ are tossed around. If we don’t understand it, we call it magic.

        I do not know what it is like to be a goalie but I do know that the best goalies are in control of their emotions and their on-ice brain. They also have lightning quick reflexes and astounding positioning. These 2 things are fairly measurable and can be worked on. The mental aspect is where the mystery lies. It’s least understood part of life & hockey. The most common references here to plug the lack of understanding is ‘hockey sense’, ‘confidence’, ‘focus’, etc. Can’t measure those things as well as we can register shots & hits so we need to find better way to assess, correct & predict mental states.

  • Garth

    Despite injuries and other related health issues this kid is still young and developing. I agree he will find his way and the Flames should show patience. Without Ras & Kylington in Stockton Parson’s played in front of an inexperienced defence. I look forward to a better overall season from this kid.

  • The Red Knight

    Anyone else get these errors and have to constantly reload this site ? Is it on purpose to get more clicks and adds etc ? Cause this is the only site that I’ve been on to have these constant errors and reloads ,put some more work into your site and fix it already it’s been like this for awhile now.

  • The Red Knight

    Everyone check out this article on Soilers nation by Jeff chapman , a ridiculous article and writing , apparently we should trade for kris Russel ? Apparently the IQ over there is .87 , hey chapman why don’t you write about Connor mcweakbones !! Get him some calcium supplements stat !!!

  • HarveysFleaCollar

    These rankings have about as much validity as the rumors put on here by posters. These writers are not hockey scouts, nothing more than fan boys with a forum.

    • cjc

      Really? Then why bother reading and commenting on it. Please give us your top 20. Disagree with the rankings if you must, but spare the writers your wrath, they don’t deserve it and you can always find another forum if it bothers you that much.

      • HarveysFleaCollar

        I like the comments. Its entertaining. Guilty pleasure. Spare the writers? They are writers in the sports arena, if they cannot handle some criticism, they are in the wrong vocation.

  • everton fc

    If Parsons can stay healthy, and continue working through any other issues, his athleticism, coupled with his obvious compete-level, may make him a very good goalie this season, and going forward. I still see him starting in KC, but I could see them moving Zagidulin down to KC, to get him acclimated w/both the North American game, and lifestyle.

    • mrroonie

      Zagidulin played 25 games in the KHL last year, he wouldn’t need to go to the ECHL to acclimatize, he can do that in the AHL exactly the same way that Rittich did when he came over from the Czech league.