Watch Elvis Merzlikins Hit Kevin Fiala At The 2019 IIHF World Championship

By Dan Dukart on May 13, 2019 at 8:05 am

Elvis Merzlikins certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

The Blue Jackets goalie prospect is not only considered one of the top goalies never to have played in the NHL, but he's one of the colorful characters in the sport. His introductory press conference when he was signed by the Blue Jackets in April certainly showed his outgoing personality. 

Merzlikins is one of five Blue Jackets players participating in the 2019 IIHF World Championship in the host country of Slovakia, joining Pierre-Luc Dubois (Canada), Vladislav Gavrikov (Russia), Alexander Wennberg (Sweden), and Alexandre Texier (France). 

In the game, his Latvian team fell to Switzerland by a 3-1 (empty net) count, a respectable showing against an underrated hockey country that features players like Fiala, 2017 1st overall pick Nico Hischier, and Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi. 

Through two games, Lativa is 1-1-0, having defeated Austria by a 5-2 score on Saturday. Merzlikins, who has played in both games, has a 2.03 GAA and a superb 0.944 save percentage. Lativa will play five more preliminary round games, so expect Merzlikins to play a key role in the tournament again, as he has in the prior three years.

Merzlikins is an RFA and will need to be re-signed by the Blue Jackets before next season, but as it's widely expected that Sergei Bobrovsky will move on to a new team, the path is clear for the Latvian to compete for the starting job in the fall. 

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