What will Joonas Korpisalo cost the Blue Jackets next season?
2018-19 was Korpisalo's first full season with Columbus after spending the last three seasons bouncing between the NHL and AHL.
In his first season, an injury to Sergei Bobrovsky gave Korpisalo a chance to show the Jackets what he could do between the pipes by posting 16 wins, a 2.60 GAA and a .920 save% in 31 games. When called upon in his sophomore season, it was more of the same and he posted a 2.88 GAA and .905 save%, both of which were slightly worse due to only playing 14 games that season in Columbus.
But these past two seasons have been rough for Korpisalo. In 18 games in 2017-18, he posted a 3.32 GAA and .897 save%, and this past season in 27 games, he managed 2.95 GAA and .897 save%. Despite his struggles, when Bobrovsky was injured and Korpisalo was able to start a few games in a row and get into a rhythm, he played solid in net.
There is a logjam in the goaltender prospect pool for the Blue Jackets, but that's not a bad thing. Daniil Tarasov will be playing in Finland's Liiga, Veini Vehvilainen could spend another season in Liiga or find himself in the AHL, while Matiss Kivlenieks continues to hold the fort in the AHL with another year left on his entry-level deal and Elvis Merzlikins either finding himself in the earn a starting job or backup position with the Jackets (Merzlikins has a one-way contract for 2019-20).
With Bobrovsky likely moving on from the Blue Jackets, there's a strong need for a reliable goaltender and while the Blue Jackets have options, bringing back Korpisalo is not an option, but a necessity.
When gauging Korpisalo’s worth on the market, it's a tough one to evaluate. He's a backup goaltender based on his workload and he's a league-average (at best) goaltender based on his results. Two years ago, the Blue Jackets signed Korpisalo to a two-year deal worth $900,000 annually – and it's hard to imagine him getting a significant pay raise at this point.
Additionally, with only $875,000 currently committed to goaltenders (Merzlikins), the Blue Jackets can be flexible and may look to the open market for a veteran to push both Korpisalo and Merzlikins in training camp, preseason, and potentially during the regular season as well.
End of the Day...
The goaltender situation is the most fluid position for the Blue Jackets this offseason and only time will tell who will receive the majority of the starts next season.