Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen Speaks About Disgruntled Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins On The Jason Gregor Show

By Coby Maeir on January 25, 2024 at 10:33 am

Ahead of the team's 4-1 loss to the Oilers on Tuesday, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen appeared on The Jason Gregor Show in Edmonton and covered many topics, including the team's goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins.

Merzlikins is in the second year of a five-year, $5.4M AAV deal and has posted a record of 8-10-6 this season along with a .903SV% and a 3.29 GAA. According to, his -1.5 goals saved above expected rank 60th in the league. 

After not playing since Dec. 29, Merzlikins said in a media availability on Jan. 12 that "there has to be a new scenario for me" and after starting on Jan. 15, he said that he had requested a trade. However, Merzlikins' agent, Gerry Johannson, told The Athletic's Aaron Portzline that he "misspoke" in that media availability

Since then, Merzlikins has played in both Blue Jackets games and posted an .860SV% in two 4-1 losses. 

"Well it's funny," Kekalainen said. "Because it first came out that we need a different scenario because he wasn't playing and he wasn't happy and we wouldn't want him to be happy not playing. Then it came out that he wanted a trade, and then he retracted that [and] said that he didn't say that he wanted to--or misspoke--and doesn't want to get traded, loves Columbus, and now he's got the net for the last couple of games."

While Kekalainen said he doesn't like to disclose internal discussions, the discussion he had with Merzlikins was about getting back to him being the No.1 goalie and playing like one.

"If you play like a No. 1 goalie and work your butt off every day and be a good teammate," Kekelainen said. "There's no problem. Everybody's happy."

Kekalainen added that there's a certain message in situations where players aren't happy with their ice time.

"I think the best message in those situations for all of us, including the management, is that maybe it's time to look in the mirror and make some adjustments," Kekalainen said.

If Kekalainen is indeed speaking about Merzlikins, will the goalie make any adjustments?

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