Have the Blue Jackets identified their No. 1 goaltender?
The club signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year, $27 million contract extension that will keep him in Columbus through the the 2026-27 NHL season. After a slow start to his NHL career, Merzlikins has been nothing short of excellent for the Blue Jackets since he started his career in Columbus. He's been rewarded with a long-term extension at a $5.4 million AAV, which makes him the 13th-highest paid goaltender in the NHL.
With the extension, Merzlikins is one of just four Blue Jackets that are signed through the 2025-26 season (Oliver Bjorkstrand, Zach Werenski, and Boone Jenner) and just one of two signed through the 2026-27 campaign (Werenski will be a free agent after the conclusion of the 2027-28 season).
"Goaltending is a position of strength for our team and Elvis Merzlikins has been an important part of that over the past two seasons so we are very excited to have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will keep him in Columbus for at least the next six years," said GM Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement.
"He is big, athletic and has a tremendous passion for the game and we believe he will be an integral part of our success in the coming years."
Merzlikins is 21-21-13 with seven shutouts in his Blue Jackets career. He's registered a .920 save percentage and 2.54 goals against average. In his rookie season (2019-20), Merzlikins finished fifth in both Calder and Vezina voting while notching five shutouts. He was selected by Columbus in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.