The Finnish netminder showed great improvement over the first three months of the season, culminating in a selection to the Metropolitan Division All-Star Team. Unfortunately this came right after suffering a knee injury that kept him out for all of January and most of February. For the season he has a 19-12-5 record, 2.60 goals against average, and .911 save percentage. For his Columbus career, he has a 60-43-14 record in 116 starts for a GAA of 2.8 and a save percentage of .908.
The cap hit is just $2.8 million per season.
Korpisalo will make $2.2 million next season (whenever that is) and $3.4 million (first season of UFA years) in 2021-22.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) April 17, 2020
AAV is $2.8 million.
The backloaded nature means he will be due for a raise on his next contract, for which he will be an unrestricted free agent.
This leads to the next question: what about Elvis Merzlikins? The Latvian rookie - who is two weeks older than Korpisalo - is also a restricted free agent this offseason (whenever that is). He was making $874,125 this season compared to Korpi’s $1.15M, so based on that you would expect his contract to be similar. On the other hand, his numbers were better with a 2.35 GAA, .923 save percentage, and five shutouts.
Fortunately, with Korpi’s cap hit being so low it leaves plenty of room to keep both goalies. The fact that it is a two year deal means this is far from a commitment. Either could be traded at some point in those next two years. Both can survive the Seattle draft (Korpisalo can be protected and Merzlikins is exempt from exposure).
My guess? Elvis signs a two year deal as well, for a similar (but possibly a bit higher) cap hit. The team uses that time to get more reps for both and decide which is the better option to commit to long term. At this point either would have pretty high trade value based on their performance this season.
Let us know in the comments what you think about Korpi’s contract, and what you expect from Elvis’s new deal.