That didn't take long. After some speculation that the Jackets might be looking at trades or on the free agent markets for a possible switch at backup goalie, the team announced that they have signed Curtis McElhinney to a two-year extension. Terms have been reported as $800,000 per season for each of the next two seasons.
McElhinney posted a 12-14-2 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 32 games during the 2014-15 season. Both of his seasons in Columbus have seen him post numbers better than his career averages at the NHL level, and his AHL season in 2012-2013 was spectacular.
There are obviously two sides on McElhinney. On one hand, he's a consummate pro and a good teammate. On this team, he knows his role will be to play once every six or seven games when Sergei Bobrovsky is healthy. He won't complain about that, whereas a younger backup might be looking to get more playing time and might cause issues in the dressing room. In addition, we've seen that, in small stretches, CMac is a solid backup. In addition, this contract is a pittance compared to what some of the other names on the market would cost, and if necessary it could be easily stashed in the AHL.
The other side of that coin is that he's been asked to play far more in each of his two seasons in Columbus than was anticipated. Bobrovsky has suffered significant groin injuries both years, and McElhinney averaged 30 games played in each of those seasons. That's too much to expect him to play and to be consistent. Bob's injury history is what it is--history--but it's very reasonable to expect that Bob won't be able to be the horse he was during his Vezina season in 2013.
In addition, there were--arguably--better options on the table, though they would have required more assets (either in dollars, or trade assets).
So, the question is: is this a "status quo" move? Are we OK with that? Is the devil you know always a better option? What say you, fans?