Merzlinkins, Blue Jackets settle on 5-year, $27 million extension

On Tuesday, goaltender Elvis Merzlinkins and the Columbus Blue Jackets agreed on an extension to a contract that expires this season. This comes in the wake of a tragic accident that took the life of promising netminder Matiss Kivlenieks.

Merzlinkins had an iffy season last year, posting a 2.77 GAA, .916 SV% and a record of 8-12-5 in 28 games. Meanwhile, the franchise was in the throes of losing both a head coach and an All-Star defenseman. Bottom line, in desperate need of a goalie the Jackets’ front office has decided to overlook such mediocrity. GM Jarmo Kekalainen, noting Merzlinkins’ stature and passion for the game, is optimistic about having him on board: “Merzlinkins has been an important part of [goaltending strength] over the past two seasons…and we believe he will be an integral part of our success in the coming years.”