The Blue Jackets announced Wednesday that they assigned goaltender Daniil Tarasov to the AHL.
#CBJ assigned G Daniil Tarasov to AHL Cleveland.— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) March 22, 2023
This season, Tarasov has struggled mightily at both the NHL and AHL levels. In 16 appearances with the Blue Jackets, he's posted a 3-11-1 record, .896SV%, 3.77 GAA, and per moneypuck.com, his -.501 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes is the sixth-worst among net-minders with at least 15 games played this season. In nine AHL appearances, he's 4-5-0 with a .871SV% and a 4.07 GAA.
In 2021-22, he made a brief stop in the NHL and was great, posting a .937SV% and a 2.40 GAA along with 2.6 goals saved above expected (GSAX), ranking 31st in the league. However, his success did not translate to the AHL, where he posted a .893SV% and a 3.06 GAA.
However, this season's performance needs to be given some context. Tarasov underwent hip surgery on February 12, 2022, an injury that took around six months to recover from. Maybe he's still getting back into the swing of playing consistent hockey. Hopefully, his play improves because, at the moment, he is the goaltender of the future.
The goaltender of the present, Elvis Merzlikins (.880SV%, 4.10 GAA, -21.9 GSAX) has been one of the worst goalies in the NHL this season, and still has four more years at $5.4M AVV left on his contract.
In order to win in the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup, you need to have good goaltending. The Blue Jackets currently do not have that, and if Tarasov continues to struggle, the future in net for this team looks bleak.