What Does The Daniil Tarasov Signing Signify For The Future Of The Columbus Blue Jackets Goaltending Position?

By Dan Dukart on June 16, 2022 at 1:45 pm
Daniil Tarasov stops a shot by Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced the signing of Danill Tarasov to a three-year, $3.15M contract extension through 2024-25. 

The 23-year-old will be waivers exempt for the 2022-23 season, but, per CapFriendly, will waivers be required beginning in 2023-24. This timing is not coincidental; Joonas Korpisalo recently signed a one-year, $1.3M contract that is set to expire in 2023-24. That all but ensures that Tarasov, who would almost surely not clear waivers, will be in the Blue Jackets battery starting in 2023-24.

Signing Tarasov for three years has other benefits. When the deal expires, he'll be 26, meaning the Russian netminder will still be an RFA. That gives the Blue Jackets player as well as cost control even after his deal expires. The contract also gives the Blue Jackets a great insurance policy.  

In three year's time, Elvis Merzlikins (and Korpisalo, for that matter) will be on the wrong side of 30, and while aging curves aren't as damming for goalies as they are skaters, it's nice to have a fresh, highly-touted goalie as the natural heir to the throne.

Tarasov is recovering from hip surgery and is expected to be ready for training camp. He'll start the year as the Cleveland Monsters (AHL) starting netminder and will get an NHL call-up if either Merzlikins/Korpisalo suffers an injury. 

The signing is an important step toward shoring up organizational goaltending depth. After Merzlikins, Korpisalo, and Tarasov, there isn't much in the immediate pipeline. JF Berube and Cam Johnson are both pending UFAs, but neither are seen as long-term options at the NHL level. Jet Greaves, 21, is an AHL goalie at this point. Almost amazingly, the Blue Jackets have no U21 goalies in the system, though it would shock nobody if they look to add a goaltender (or two) in next month's draft. Also, it wouldn't be surprising to see the organization add a Berube-like netminder (or even re-sign Berube) to add to the pipeline.

This signing is optimum from the Columbus standpoint, with the one caveat that it's a hefty price tag to pay for an AHL goaltender. But that's an ownership-level decision, and it shows that the organization is willing to make the right decisions, even if cheaper alternatives exist.

At the NHL standpoint, a $1.05M AAV is incredibly reasonable for any non-ELC player, and Tarasov has shown that his game can translate to the highest level. All in all, this is a good, tidy piece of business by the front office that keeps their top goalie prospect in the organization for the next 3+ years with little downside.    

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