Daniil Tarasov was called up on an emergency basis on December 2, 2021 due to non-COVID illness designations for regular goaltenders Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo. Tarasov made it in time for puck drop and made his NHL debut that night, falling 3-2 to the Dallas Stars but making 34 saves with a .919 save percentage in his NHL debut.
Tarasov, the former 3rd round pick (86th overall) for the Blue Jackets, had a brief stint in the NHL cup short by a season ending hip injury, but he was steady in his appearances in net and arguably deserved better scoreboard results than he saw. Tarasov only made four appearances (three starts) with the big club this year, but he posted the best stats of any Columbus netminder.
With Joonas Korpisalo’s contract for just one year and likely a trade piece again next year, could Daniil Tarasov have a bigger role next season? Tarasov will likely start in Cleveland but any injuries (and both goaltenders have injury history) and Tarasov will be back in Columbus looking to prove that he is NHL ready and Korpisalo’s tenure with the franchise should end.
Games played: 4
Save Percentage: .937
Goals Against/60: 2.40
Goals Saved Above Average: 3.3
Goals Saved Above Expected: 2.6
Daniil Tarasov is a restricted free agent this summer. With Tarasov due a new deal and Joonas Korpisalo out of contact, it feels like Columbus will be forced to decide who they want to play 1B / backup to Elvis Merzlikins next season: Tarasov or Korpisalo. Given Tarasov’s status as an RFA and Korpisalo’s poor performance this year, one would expect Tarasov to be the backup in Columbus next year, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen has made some interesting goaltending moves previously.
You might have guessed, I wrote that before Korpisalo’s contract was renewed (in a completely unnecessary move). Tarasov will likely take a bridge deal this summer, but one has to expect that he’d be looking for NHL opportunities sooner rather than later given his performance.
Tarasov made his debut in a whirlwind day. He might have taken the loss, but it was certainly an experience he will never forget.
Major surgery is kind of a downer, I expect.
Outside of that, hard to find a low point in the best goaltending performance the team had this year.
How would you grade Daniil Tarasov’s 2021-22 season?
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