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Tyler Parsons is feeling good physically and mentally, and brimming with confidence for Development Camp and the season ahead: "This is the best I've felt in my whole, entire life."

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Bits and pieces. 

Glimpses and glimmers. 

Moments and snapshots.

One step forward. A half back. Then vice-versa.

So far, Tyler Parsons' journey into the professional realm has mimicked mime Marcel Marceau's signature Walking Against the Wind routine.

Just when it appears he's making headway …

"I don't feel that I've shown Calgary my full capability yet," Parsons is saying, on medicals-day out at the Flames' 2019 development camp.
"I've had a lot of injuries that kinda held me back. That's not an excuse. Things happen. You can't control it.

"This is the best I've felt in my whole, entire life. I'm really looking forward to proving myself, to show I can be that guy."

Following a first year of pro spent mainly at ECHL Kansas City, injuries limited Parsons to only 20 starts at AHL Stockton through 2018-19, finishing with a 9-9-1 record, 3.70 GAA and .898 save percentage.

Yet those bewitching glimpses and glimmers, shimmers of the latent potential of the goalie waiting to be unleashed, persist.

On Jan. 19, for example, Parsons established a Heat record for saves in a game, on Teddy Bear Toss night, 49 against the Texas Stars, eclipsing Stockton goaltending compadre Jon Gillies' previous miserly low by one.

"I feel that's how I need to play every night," he says now. "I know I'm capable of doing that every night.

"I was very inconsistent last season. A lot came down to mentality and injuries but I feel great now.

"I'm just going to keep working. That's when I shine - when I play like that. That's how my whole career has been so far.

"But I've got a lot more in the bag I'm looking forward to showing."

This is the winter Parsons is bound and determined to gain some traction on his pro career. After going public with his mental-health issues last year, he's at a very good place, in a very good space, right now.

"It comes with feeling better in my life, in hockey and away from hockey,'' he explains. "Everything has been absolutely … amazing. I can't thank the people around me enough. From my fiancée to my parents to the people I work out with, my trainers and the organization for all the support through all the injuries I've had my first two years pro.

"Now I'm back on top.

"I feel great.

"And I'm ready to show what I can do."


Video: It's another opportunity for me to leave a footprint


Parsons set up shop locally, in Airdrie, this summer. To be back in time for camp, he and fiancée Darien and their "three pups" made the 40 hour-drive back from out east after spending a week working with his home-base trainer.

"We have two Shepherds and a Pit Bull-Chihuahua mix," he says. "Yes, there is such a thing. 

"We actually rescued her in Stockton, at the Stockton animal shelter. They were going to put her down in two days because they were so overloaded with pets.

"Just a super-sweet dog. And super small. She doesn't really fit in with the two big old German Shepherds but she's a good balance. Her name's Shilo.

"She's really cool, with a great personality.

"Just little things like that, being around good things, happy things, helps where I'm at and I'm just super-excited to get things going."

This is only Year 3 of pro for the 21-year-old second-round draft pick and now he feels like the old man of these development camps.

"There's still a lot of upside with Tyler," emphasizes Flames' goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet. "Such a good kid and a hard worker. He's been living in Airdrie most of the summer so he can train in Calgary and get stronger. He had a lot of injuries last year which messed up his rhythm and flow.

"Not a lot of games, granted, but he definitely took steps forward, mentally and technically.

"We took a profile of some other goalies of his stature and showed him what makes them successful - guys like (Antti) Raanta in Arizona. Not big guys but really athletic guys.

"We're fine-tuning his game to be successful at the pro level, little tweaks like being less aggressive and relying on his athleticism less, only when he needs it. Looking at his numbers doesn't tell the tale of what kind of goalie he can be."



Most vitally, Parsons is content with his lot, and his life.

"That was my biggest battle - I knew what I needed to do but I just couldn't because of the limitations I had," he says. "Now I don't have those limitations so if I can stay healthy and feel the way I am right now I think have a bright future ahead of me. 

"I feel like a completely different person, last season to now. And anyone close to me - it's a small circle - will tell you the same thing. A lot more outgoing, social.

"Feels good to feel good again."

With main training camp a shade more than two months away and feeling he's just reaching the peak of his puck-stopping powers, Parsons is adopting a come-what-may attitude.

"I'm just gonna live day-to-day, man," he explains. "I've seen the bottom of the barrel with all these injuries but now I'm feeling better.

"I don't want to say. I just want to show."

Not that he's putting any limitations on himself whatever, though.

"People always say it takes longer for goalies to spark, to be ready," he muses. "I think it's a bunch of BS.

"When you're ready, you're ready.

"And I think I'm pretty close to that."

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