In a surprise announcement Tuesday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets made public a five year extension for goalie Elvis Merzlikins. The Latvian has spent the last two seasons in Columbus where he boasts a .920 save percentage and 2.54 GAA over the span of 61 games.
It’s a five-year, $27 million extension for #CBJ Elvis Merzlikins, so a $5.4 million salary cap hit. Here’s the breakdown:— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 21, 2021
'22-23: $5.25 million
'23-24: $6 million
'24-25: $6 million
'25-26: $5.525 million
'26-27: $4.225 million
The new deal carries a $5.4 million salary cap hit through the 2026-2027 season. Elvis Merzlikins now becomes the Blue Jacket with the second longest signed contract, behind only Zach Werenski, who is signed through 2027-2028.
Elvis has spent most of his tenure splitting time with Joonas Korpisalo. The Blue Jackets almost certainly tried to trade Korpisalo over the summer, but the buyers market likely put an end to that. In an interview with The Athletic published today, Bard Larsen said, “It’s kind of a tough thing because we’re going to need two good goalies, especially with a condensed schedule coming up. I also understand that like most guys, each of them wants to be the No. 1. We’re going to see how it plays out.” The team and coach continue beat the two goalie drum, but it’s hard to imagine the vocal, confident, and new long-tenured goalie won’t be the #1 going into this season.
The love the fanbase has for Elvis Merzlikins is only going to grow from here. It’s my estimation that Elvis has a chance to become the face of the franchise and a household name in not only Columbus, but across the league. From this writer, I couldn’t be happier with this news.