With everything that is going on with the league currently, it seems that the off-season is coming earlier than normal. With that, it is a good time to take a look at current contract situations at hand. One of the most important would be that of rookie goaltender Elvis Merzlikins.
The 2019-20 season has been an interesting one when examining the play of Merzlikins. It took the Latvian netminder almost double-digit games to get his first career win, leaving many to wonder if he would ever be able to make the cut as a goalie in the NHL.
The nerves were calmed shortly after Joonas Korpisalo went down with an injury and Merzlikins was thrust into the starting position. From there we all know what happened, with Elvis solidifying himself as a legitimate starter and helping to keep the often-injured Blue Jackets team.
In the most recent edition of 31 Thoughts from Elliotte Friedman, he touched very quickly on the situation, stating that there was word out of Columbus that the Blue Jackets and Merzlikins are in talks to extend past this season, something many fans hope comes to fruition.
Moving into the off-season, it would be in the best interest of the organization to bring Merzlikins back, something that obviously seems to be their intent. And with the fact that he played so well, albeit in a small sample size, means that Elvis will get paid appropriately for a goalie looking to split starts going into 2020-21.
A likely situation could look like the contract that Joonas Korpisalo received just before this season. He was a backup that showed flashes of the ability to be a full-time starter, much like Merzlikins has this season.
While it is undoubtedly going to be a bit before any further updates are provided on this situation, look for Merzlikins to stay in Columbus past this season and expect that contract to be in the $1-2 million range per season.