The stage is set for Elvis.
On what will be an emotional, energetic night at Nationwide Arena as the Blue Jackets open their 2021-22 season, their recently-signed (de facto) No. 1 goaltender will be between the pipes.
Head coach Brad Larsen made the announcement following Wednesday's practice in Columbus.
#CBJ head coach Brad Larsen says Elvis Merzlikins gets the start tomorrow night in the opener vs. Arizona— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) October 13, 2021
The 27-year-old Latvian signed a five-year, $27 million contract extension in late September. In 2020-21, Merzlikins made 23 starts and went 8-12-15 with a 2.77 goals against average and .916 save percentage. He owns a career save percentage of .920, which is generally good enough to help your team win games.
Here's what Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen had to say following the announcement of Merzlikins' extension:
"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. 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."