Financial Implications Of Moving On From Blue Jackets Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins

By Coby Maeir on March 14, 2024 at 1:42 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) looks on during warm-up before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
© David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

It seems more likely by the day that Elvis Merzlikins' time in Columbus is ending at the end of the season. In the first two years of a five-year, $5.4M cap-hit extension he signed ahead of the 2021-22 season, Merzlikins has been the worst goalie in the league in the 2022-23 season, returned to league average in 2023-24, requested a trade, withdrew that request, and has been pulled from multiple games, culminating with him receiving the hook after allowing three goals on four shots in the first 5:48 of the Blue Jackets' loss to Montreal on Tuesday. 

If the Blue Jackets want to move on from Merzlikins, they have two realistic choices. The first is to buy his contract out when the buyout window opens on June 15 or 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final, whichever comes later. The buyout numbers are below, thanks to's buyout calculator. 

Elvis Merzlikins Buyout Calculator,

Breaking it down, the team will incur a total cap hit of $5.7M and $10.5M in total savings over the first three years of the buyout before incurring a $5.25M total cap hit and -$5.25M in total savings over the final three years of the buyout.

But what if they don't want to buy him out and instead can trade him while retaining part of his salary?

If they were to retain 25% of his salary in a trade, they'd incur an annual cap hit of $1.35M and save $4.05M a year. In total, that's a $4.05M cap hit and $12.15M in savings. 

If the retention jumps to 30%, they'd take on an annual cap hit of $1.62M while saving $3.78M a year which comes out to a total of a $4.86M cap hit with $11.34M in savings. 

Finally, if the Blue Jackets were to retain the maximum 50% of his salary, the annual cap hit and savings would both be $2.7M, which means the total cap hit and savings would be $8.1M. 

Buying Out Or Trading Merzlikins
Year Buyout Cap Hit/Savings Retain 25% Cap Hit/Savings Retain 30% Cap Hit/Savings Retain 50% Cap Hit/Savings
2024-25 $1.15M/$4.25M $1.35M/$4.05M $1.62M/$3.78M $2.7M/$2.7M
2025-26 $1.625M/$3.775M $1.35M/$4.05M $1.62M/$3.78M $2.7M/$2.7M
2026-27 $2.95M/$2.45M $1.35M/$4.05M $1.62M/$3.78M $2.7M/$2.7M
2027-28 $1.75M/-$1.75M $0/$0 $0/$0 $0/$0
2028-29 $1.75M/-$1.75M $0/$0 $0/$0 $0/$0
2029-30 $1.75M/-$1.75M $0/$0 $0/$0 $0/$0
Total After 3 Years $5.7M/$10.5M $4.05M/$12.15M $4.86M/$11.34M $8.1M/$8.1M
Total From Years 4-6 $5.25M/-$5.25M $0/$0 $0/$0 $0/$0

The only way the Blue Jackets would save more money over the next three seasons by buying out Merzlikins would be if they retained more than 35% of his salary, which would have them incurring an annual cap hit of at least $1.944M and annual savings of a maximum $3.456M, totaling in a $5.832M minimum cap hit and $10.368M in maximum savings.

The Blue Jackets have an interesting summer ahead, and Merzlikins' future will be near the top of the list of issues to solve.

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