Blue Jackets Sign Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins To One-Year Contract For 2019-20 Season

By 1OB Staff on May 15, 2019 at 11:36 am
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender prospect Elvis Merzlikins.

IIHF

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There's a bit to unpack here.

Elvis Merzlikins signed a one-year, entry level contract with the Blue Jackets on March 20. Despite not appearing in any games, that he was on the NHL roster meant the contract would be "burned" regardless; the plan all along was to get Merzlikins to North America after the conclusion of his season in Switzerland, then go from there.

Merzlikins was in Columbus working with goaltending coach Manny Legace during the stretch drive and playoffs, and is now playing for Team Latvia at the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. 

Merzlikins' new contract, officially announced on Wednesday, is a one-way (NHL) contract for the upcoming season. He will be a Blue Jackets, at the NHL level, coming opening night barring something unforeseen. And, in fact, the future of the goaltending position in Columbus might well be in his hands, glove, blocker, whatever.

The 25-year-old Merzlikins was the Blue Jackets' third round pick (No. 76 overall) in 2014, and has spent all of the time since playing professionally in Europe. He went 105-79-7 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .920 save% in 210 career games with HC Lugano. He was named the league's goaltender of the year in 2017-18 for the second time (first coming in 2015-16), and this past season, recorded a career-best five shutouts in 43 games.

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