As we wrap up the training camp portion of things with goaltenders, I feel like we have a much better forecast of what’s ahead with Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins!
But with the shortened 56-game season ahead, there’s even more randomness and unknowns to decipher across the league. Teams must have a third goalie hang around the taxi squad and so it’s ever-more critical for goalies and players around the league to be sharp and ready at all times as teams navigate the new year.
Whether Covid protocols and precautionary measures, injuries, or teams facing their divisional opponents an increased amount of times, there’s probably a greater likelihood of the third goalie seeing some major ice-time at some point or another!
Joonas Korpisalo (2019-20 Player Review)
Korpisalo was an All-Star and played like an elite tender in the playoffs against the Maple Leafs and Lightning. And who can forget the Game 1 five overtime thriller-yet-heartbreaking loss that saw Korpi set records along the way as he stopped 85 pucks versus Tampa Bay?
Korpisalo was re-signed to a 2-year contract worth $5,600,00 through 2021-22 last April.
Elvis Merzlikins (2019-20 Player Review)
Then there’s Merzlikins, a literal rock star in Columbus as he posted his first NHL shutout in Vegas and also made his mark in the playoffs with a win in relief against the Leafs, his team trailing 3-0 when he entered! We saw what Elvis could do once he was forced into the main No. 1 job once Korpisalo went down with a knee injury.
Merzlikins was re-signed to a 2-year contract worth $8 million through 2021-22 last April as well!
Matiss Kivlenieks (2019-20 Player Review)
The other young netminder to make his NHL debut in 2020 was that of Kivlenieks, who won his debut with a win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He’ll be the third goalie this year and possibly sees action depending on how things play out over the course of the year.
Thiessen (Elaine’s guy) or Cleveland’s “Brick Wall” serves as player/coach for the Monsters and can help out in camp as an extra body and mentor for he young guys.
Vehviläinen, who you might be familiar with from past training camps, is a name that’s been bandied about Cleveland. He actually won’t be a training camp participant as he’s on loan playing for JYP Jyväskylä of the Liiga.
The Blue Jackets just played a scrimmage last night — White team defeating the Blue team 9-6 — and I know I’m excited to see these players on the ice for the real thing in less than a week!