Weight: 185 Pounds
Date of birth: September 18, 1997, Chesterfield, MI
OHL Draft: Signed as a free agent, 2014
With the likes of highly touted draft prospects and fellow teammates Matthew Tkachuk, Olli Juolevi and Max Jones, There are bound to be plenty of eyes on Parsons this season. Add in Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak and Parsons’ Knights could be in for a long playoff run and a Memorial Cup appearance, which could also help the cause for NHL Central Scouting’s 3rd ranked OHL goaltender and 6th on the North American list.
Parsons played for Little Caesars Under-18 squad and signed on with the Knights as a free agent. However, he was drafted by the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders if the USHL in the second round, 30th overall in 2014.
As a rookie, Parsons gained valuable experience during his rookie season appearing in half the Knights games before being named the starter in the playoffs over the experienced Michael Giugovaz. He posted a 15-10-0-2 record with a goals against average of 3.53 and a save percentage of .905. In 8 playoff games, he had a 4-3-0 record with a 3.30 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
Knowing what is expected to be a number one goaltender in this league, and after suffering injuries last season due to what he called “muscle fatigue”, Parsons did all the necessary work in the offseason. He worked on his lower body strength and became much stronger while growing an inch and gaining 20 pounds.
He came into the season as the de facto number one goaltender which allowed the Knights to trade Giugovaz. But with rookie Emanuel Vella as the backup, the Knights felt they needed to bring in an insurance policy and acquired Brendan Burke to be a capable and experienced backup.
Parsons appeared in the All-American Prospects Game (the American rendition of the NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game) but was injured less than 5 minutes into the game. He was also invited to Team USA’s camp for the World Junior Championships and was the team’s third goaltender.
Parsons doesn’t have the huge size but he isn’t small either. What he lacks in size to cover the net he makes up for with lightning quick reflexes. He will do what he has to do to stop pucks. What he doesn’t have to do with London’s high powered offense is steal games, but when they need a save, his excellent positioning and ability to track pucks ensures that he’ll give you that save.
Last season he struggled a little with his rebound control, but that lack of control has all but disappeared this season. He already possessed excellent lower body movement but is now controlling where rebounds go at a very high level. Combined with a quick glove hand, second opportunities are becoming a rarity.
I have to admit; early on in the season I didn’t think Parsons could lead the Knights to the Promised Land. Things change and that’s why we play the games. And If the Hunters and McRae believe in Parsons, that has to be good enough for me.
Parsons should and could be the top OHL goaltender selected in the June draft.