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DESTINATION UNKNOWN

Tyler Parsons next challenge comes in Stockton where he'll push for a roster spot

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

When last spotted, around 9:30 Saturday morning, Tyler Parsons was stuffing his goaltending gear into a car in the Scotiabank Saddledome's D Parking Lot.

One of seven players reassigned to Stockton, Calif., and the American Hockey League's Heat.

Initially, at any rate.

"I had a good talk with him before he left," said Flames' goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet. "He was good. He sees the numbers here, understands that right now it's really about getting our NHL guys ready. So he's excited to get to Stockton, get settled and started there.

"He's in a bit of a different situation, not really knowing where he'll actually be playing.

"But I said to him: 'No matter where you wind up, it's about playing time.' I also reminded him that a lot of awful good goalies have gone through the East Coast League.

"(Braden) Holtby. (Jonathan) Quick. Even Mike Smith started there. So he's got a great example right here in front of him."

With Smith and Eddie Lack slotted into the puck-stopping rotation here, that leaves incumbents Jon Gillies and David Riitich for the 2016 second-pick from the OHL's London Knights to vie with in Stockton.

The remaining option being the ECHL's Kansas City Mavericks.

"Everyone wants to be here and if they can't be here they want to be in the American Hockey League,'' reasoned Sigalet. "But it's going to be a battle. There are going to be good goalies down there fighting for spots.

"He knows (the ECHL) is a possibility, and the OHL is a possibility. Our mindset, though, is that he needs to be challenged, we have to get him into pro hockey. And he's got to play, no matter where that is. Gotta play to get better.

"Nothing compares to games. Sitting on the bench somewhere isn't going to help his development. He definitely needs that challenge of being counted upon."

Regardless of eventual destination, Sigalet was encouraged by what he saw from the prospect many consider the finest, long-term, inside the Calgary organization at present.

"He came in to Pentiction (for the Young Stars Classic Tournament), had a good game for us and then suffered a minor injury. That set him back a bit so it took a while getting caught up with the pace of main camp. But the last three days I thought was he was outstanding.

"You could tell his timing caught up with him, his reads. He looked like he belonged.

"He's very mature for his age. Always trying to learn. You can never question his character or work ethic.

"And that's what's going to help him excel at every level he plays at."

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