The Calgary Flames selected Tyler Parsons with the 54th pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Parsons has just completed his first NHL training camp and pre-season and has been assigned to the London Knights for 2016-17. The normal course for a goalie in his first NHL training camp is to arrive, practice, watch and learn.
Parsons’ attitude and play may have forced the Flames’ hand to the point that they actually played the 19-year old in the third period of a pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Goalies are a lot like wine, cheese and marinated steak. To be at their best, you want them aged.
There were zero teenagers between NHL pipes last season. Only two goalies under 23 (Andrei Vasilevsky and John Gibson) played in more than 30 games. If it had not been for injuries, they would very likely have played less.
You want to take some time with your goaltenders to make sure they are mentally ready for what the NHL brings to the last line of defense.
Marc-Andre Fleury played in the league as an 18-year old and played very well to the point he is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, but his career and future aren’t exactly on solid blades of steel right now.
Jonathan Bernier played his first game as a 19-year old. He’s back to trying to find his game in Ahaeim this year.
You can have success, but it can be best not to rush and Parsons is not going to have to.
Scouts rave about his compete level and how he hates to be scored on. His fitness level would make goalies of the 90s look like doughboys and some of the goalies from the 80s look like actual dough.
Parsons stopped all seven shots he faced in his 20 minutes of NHL work and will leave Calgary with a confidence boost and return to London set to continue his incredible run that has gone from roller hockey goalie to undrafted free agent in the OHL to a guy who has every chance to live out his dream in the National Hockey League… someday.