Joonas Korpisalo is Proving Himself, One Game at a Time

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 18, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Oct 16, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) dives to make a save in net against the Dallas Stars in the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't a pretty start to the season for Joonas Korpisalo.

He stopped 25 of 29 shots in a 4-1 loss to Toronto and then gave up three goals on just 18 shots in a win against Buffalo. Those two save percentages? .862 and .833, respectively.

Since then, Korpisalo has been nothing short of very good:

  • vs. Anaheim: 21 saves, 2 GA, .913 save percentage 
  • @ Carolina: 30 saves, 2 GA, .938 save percentage 
  • vs. Dallas: 30 saves, 2 GA, .938 save percentage

He's also outplayed a certain former Blue Jacket who decided to move on from Columbus (chart courtesy of hockey-reference): 

Joonas Korpisalo vs Sergei Bobrovsky through five games.

Head coach John Tortorella could have been feeding Korpisalo to the wolves when he decided to start him on the second night of a back-to-back against the 5-0 Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Blue Jackets were 1-3 and in desperate need of a win.

Korpisalo delivered a dominant performance and the Blue Jackets handed Carolina their first loss of the season. Performances like that one are why Tortorella is moving with Korpisalo as the number one goaltender moving forward.

While Korpisalo's career numbers aren't very good, it's important to remember that he's played as a backup in the NHL for most of his career — not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. 

However, in the 16 games of the 2015-16 season when Sergei Bobrovsky was injured, Korpisalo came in as a rookie and played excellently. He went 11-3-2 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA. 

When Korpisalo gets minutes as a #1 goaltender, he plays like one, The proof is in his rookie season, and Blue Jackets fans should expect to see more of it this year.