The Blue Jackets are taking care of business in the goaltending department.
Earlier this spring, they signed Elvis Merzlikins and then burned his first entry level year (ELC) by keeping him in Columbus for the balance of the season. Since then, Merzlikins has signed a one-year NHL deal for 2019-20.
Now, you can add promising Finnish goaltender Veini Vehvilainen to the list.
The Blue Jackets announced Tuesday the signing of Vehvilainen, 22, to a two-year ELC. This comes on the heels of an excellent season with Karpat in Finland's top professional league, Liiga. In 38 games, Vehvilainen went 25-8-5 with a 1.58 goals against average and .933 save%. Vehvilainen led the league with six shutouts and his save% was also the best in Liiga.
In the playoffs, Vehvilainen posted a league-best 1.47 GAA with four shutouts and a 11-6 record. Karpat advanced to the championship final.
Per the Blue Jackets' release today:
The Jyvaskyla, Finland native has gone 64-30-21 with a 1.83 GAA, .926 SV% and 13 shutouts in 119 career Liiga games with Karpat, Sport and JYP since 2015. He captured the Urpo Ylonen Award as the league's best goaltender and was named to the Liiga All-Star Team after finishing second in GAA and SV%, third-T in wins and sixth-T in shutouts with a 20-5-8 record, 1.89 GAA, .925 SVV% and four shutouts in 35 appearances with Karpat in 2017-18. He then helped the club capture the league championship with an 11-4 mark, 1.57 GAA, .933 SV% and three shutouts in 17 postseason outings.
Vehvilainen was a sixth-round pick of the Blue Jackets (No. 173 overall) in 2018.