Blue Jackets ink Merzlikins to 2-year extension reportedly worth $8M
The contract comes with an average annual value of $4 million, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
"We've believed for several years that Elvis Merzlikins was the best goaltender outside the NHL while he was playing in Switzerland and this year he has shown that he has the ability and drive to be a very good goaltender in this league," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. "He is quick, athletic, and driven to succeed."
Merzlikins, 26, has authored a 13-9-8 record with a 2.35 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage, and five shutouts during his first professional campaign. He leads all rookie netminders in all of those categories.
The Latvian puck-stopper failed to pick up a win in his first eight career starts but caught fire after earning his first victory Dec. 31. From that point on, Merzlikins owns a record of 13-5-4 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. His stretch of dominant play includes a run of eight straight victories in which he conceded just eight goals while collecting five shutouts.
Columbus also extended goaltender Joonas Korpisalo last week to a two-year deal worth a reported $5.6 million. With the pair locked up, the club has established a formidable tandem for just $6.8 million annually.