Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins has been placed on IR. He suffered an upper body injury during practice on Wednesday and is day to day. Matiss Kivlenieks has been elevated from the taxi squad.
UPDATE: The Blue Jackets have placed G Elvis Merzlikins on Injured Reserve and have elevated G Matiss Kivlenieks from the taxi squad.#CBJ | @Huntington_Bank https://t.co/SVX50U7J7H
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 4, 2021
Elvis Merzlikins Injury Puts Him on IR
Merzlikins is one of the two young goaltends the Blue Jackets have at their disposal, so Joonas Korpisalo will get the starting job. Through five starts this season, Merlikins is 2-2-1, with a .913 save percentage and a 2.76 goals-against average. He’s saved 1.45 goals above expected, along with a .600 quality start percentage. Last season, he started 31 games, posting a 13-9-8 record, with a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA. He saved 12.10 goals above expected and had a .548 quality start percentage.
What This Means Moving Forward
Korpisalo is the better goaltender between the two, so it was likely he would be transitioned to the starting role later this season anyway. However, it is extremely important to have a solid goalie tandem, especially in this shortened season. While Korpisalo can handle a slew of games in a short period of time, he will not be able to sustain that throughout the season. Kivlenieks has started four games for the Blue Jackets last season, and he went 1-1-2 with a .898 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA.
While the Central Division does not have the toughest opponents, it is crucial for the Blue Jackets to stay ahead. They will have to rely on Kivlneieks to start the second of a back to back, which may lead to some losses. However, with Elvis Merzlikins’ injury considered day to day, they will likely not be missing him for long. The plus side for the Blue Jackets is their skaters are extremely good defensively. The Blue Jackets are experts at helping out their goaltender, no matter who is in the blue paint.
Embed from Getty Images