We have already done projections of the forwards and defensive units. Now it is time to talk about the goaltenders. This may come as a bit of a surprise to those who remember that the Columbus Blue Jackets gave up a record number of goals last season. However, the play in the net may very well be solid this year.
First, the defense will look to improve this year, which should help out the goalies tremendously. Then there are our starter and backup, Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo, who will look to get back to their career averages.
|Starter||Elvis Merzlikins||.912 -.922 SV% | 2.75 - 3.0 GAA|
|Backup||Joonas Korpisalo||.890 - .910 SV% | 3.0 - 3.4 GAA|
|Third String||Daniil Tarasov||.905 - .920 SV% | 2.80 - 3.1 GAA|
Merzlikins had a SV% of .907 and a GAA of 3.22 last season. The save percentage wasn't terrible and the GAA was partially the defense's fault. Even still, this upcoming season he will try to put up numbers more in keeping with his career averages (prior to last season) of .920 SV% and 2.54 GAA.
The backup out of Finland had a SV% of .877 and a GAA of 4.15, both of which are appalling numbers. In fact, his GAA was dead last amongst netminders that played 13 or more games last season. Korpisalo's numbers from last season are just plain bad, but an interesting thing is that his GAA above expected is third best in the league. Still, he will look to get back to his career averages (prior to last season) of .908 and 2.9.
Even though Jet Greaves will undoubtedly start the season as the Cleveland Monsters first string netminder, Daniil Tarasov should take over those duties as soon as he recovers from his hip surgery. Tarasov will then be the third string Goalie for the Blue Jackets and starter for the Monsters.
Tarasov's NHL numbers are impressive, to say the least, however his sample size is only four games. His stat line is .937 SV% and 2.4 GAA, and while these numbers are obviously inflated due to the small sample size, they do give the coaching staff hope that he can take over the backup role in the near future.
Whatever the lineups end up looking like, improved goaltending is going to be what Columbus is sincerely hoping for as they make a push towards the playoffs.