The Columbus Blue Jackets are set for a long time to come when it comes to the goaltender situation. Even after Sergei Bobrovsky is no longer in Columbus, the Blue Jackets have a viable option in the organization. Joonas Korpisalo is the future. He is the man that can take over when Bobrovsky is gone.
Joonas Korpisalo is the Future in Columbus
Korpisalo burst onto the scene in the 2015-16 playing in 31 games due to Bobrovsky’s groin injury. 30 starts were second on the team that year to Bobrovsky, who started 37 games. In his 30 starts, Korpisalo had a record of 16-11-4, a goals-against-average of 2.26, and a save percentage of .920. There was a revolving door at goaltender that season with Curtis McElhinney and Anton Forsberg being the other two goalies that season.
Korpisalo was by far the best of the backup goalies that season. That year showed a lot of promise for the then 21-year-old and something many hoped he would build upon. To this point in his career that was his best season. In his third season, Korpisalo’s stats have regressed, but only slightly. The .920 save percentage has dropped to a .912 this season and the GAA has gone to a 3.10.
Korpisalo’s bad season to this point is not something to worry about. While he has only started in eight games this season he already has four wins. Off to a rocky start, Korpisalo allowed four and five goals in two of his first three games. Since then Korpisalo has allowed only two or fewer goals in six of his last seven games. As a backup goalie and being 23-years-old Korpisalo is going to have a couple of bad nights here and there. If the first three games of the season for him were erased, Korpisalo would have a GAA of 2.28. That would rank Korpisalo 16th in the NHL behind Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
The AHL can Help As Well
In his five games with the AHL-affiliate Cleveland Monsters Korpisalo has a GAA of 1.97 and five points. With a GAA of 1.97 that ties Korpisalo for first in the AHL that has played in five games or more. Korpisalo’s save percentage of .944 puts him in sole possession of first for goalies that have played five or more games. Though AHL stats might not be a great way to show how a goalie might do in the NHL, Korpisalo is only 23 and still developing. Any game that Korpisalo plays in will go a long way toward his development to a number one goalie.
Behind the Best of the Best
The biggest key to Korpisalo’s success will be the man he will hopefully replace, Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is one of the best goaltenders in the world and a great person to teach Korpisalo how to gain whatever it takes for him to eventually take over his role. Bobrovksy is expected to be in net for Columbus for a long time to come. That will be a big help for Korpisalo to develop, he has a lot of time to develop behind the two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
Another big boost is Ian Clark, The Blue Jackets goalie coach is considered one of the best in the league. Clark has been considered an innovator, which has allowed him to work with many top goalies in the league from Marc-Andre Fleury to Cory Schneider. Clark can bring what he taught to those goalies. Korpisalo will be just fine by the time he needs to be ready to take over in between the pipes.
There is a lot of promise when it comes to Joonas Korpisalo being an eventual number one goalie. Whether that be his stats from the 2015-2016 season to this season or that he is sitting behind a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and being coached by one of the best goalie coaches. Joonas Korpisalo in the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets.