Joonas Korpisalo holds the NHL record for most saves in a playoff game (85). That record was threatened on May 3rd when Igor Shesterkin saved 79 of 83 in a 4-3 3OT Rangers loss against the Penguins. That game had many of us reminiscing about better days — Korpi likely had similar thoughts.
The Blue Jackets did their best to continue the narrative of having two starting goaltenders going into the 2021-2022 season, despite Merzlikins having a significantly better prior season. Adding to the awkwardness and confusion, Merzlikins was signed to a five year contract only a few weeks before the first puck drop. Korpisalo, in contrast, was left with more uncertainty.
Elvis has not shied away from publicly expressing his struggles on and off the ice in dealing with the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks. His comments in his exit interview made it clear that his on-ice performance was directly affected. Korpisalo has been the exact opposite. You do have to wonder if this season became the perfect storm for the Finnish goaltender. The loss of a teammate, losing the starting goalie battle with Elvis, and the uncertainty of his future in the NHL. On top of all the struggles, Korpi sustained a hip injury that ended his season on March 24th. The result is likely an unceremonious departure from Columbus.
Games played: 22
Save Percentage: .877
Goals Against/60: 4.15
Goals Saved Above Average: -15.39
Goals Saved Above Expected: -13.2
Korpi is a UFA this summer. The Blue Jackets have seemingly left the door open to re-signing him, but that would be a move that would leave many scratching their heads. If Elvis is the starting goalie for the foreseeable future, there are likely several veteran backups that could be acquired or signed for little cost.
His first start of the season was in Detroit on October 19th. He saved 41 of 43 shots and looked stellar while doing it. Korpisalo’s expected goals against was 4.17 and he more than gave his team an opportunity to win. Unfortunately, the offense fell flat and the result of the game was a loss.
In two games on March 17th and 19th against the Capitals and Blues, Korpi gave up 5 goals on a combined 16 shots. He was pulled from the game against Washington and came on in relief of Merzlikins against the Blues.
This is difficult to do, but Korpi receives an F for his season. He was one of the worst goalies in the league across the board. He let in a large number of soft goals, looked uncomfortable in net, and could not be relied on to bail out the already bad defense. Best of luck to Korpi wherever he lands next season. Hopefully this wasn’t his last taste of the NHL.
How would you grade Joonas Korpisalo’s 2021-22 season?