The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a two-year contract extension. The deal will take the 26-year-old through 2021-22 and cost $4 million for the next two seasons. The Blue Jackets announced the signing Thursday afternoon.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 23, 2020
Blue Jackets Extend Elvis Merzlikins
The young Latvian goalie was a revelation for Columbus in 2019-20. He started the season as the backup for Joonas Korpisalo but took over midway through the season was Korpisalo was injured. Merzlikins had one of the best months in January where he won eight games out of 10 with a .948 save percentage and 1.72 goals-against-average. He has been a good goaltender overall as well. His numbers this season include 13 wins, a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against-average.
What This Means for the Future
This factors in as an extremely important signing for the CBJ and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. This extension helps give them some sort of cost certainty in net as the Blue Jackets try to contend for a Stanley Cup. Merzlikins is now locked in at $4 million a year along with Korpisalo at $2.8 million for the next two seasons. So, Columbus ends up paying a $6.8 million flat rate for the next two years for one of the more impressive goalie tandems in the league.
Not bad at all.
There are some other implications here, too. Columbus’ willingness to shell out this much money for Elvis is certainly a vote of confidence. While Korpisalo was viewed as Columbus’ goalie of the future for a long time, Merzlikins’ impressive performance this year has changed that. There’s a real debate here between two hot young goalies – and purely by a financial factor, Merzlikins seems to have gained the majority of confidence in Columbus.
But still, $4 million is a lot for a young, inexperienced goalie. Merzlikins will have next season to demonstrate whether he’s worthy. If he is, this extension may look like a steal.
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