Elvis Merzlikins signed a five-year, $27 million contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday that begins next season. It has an average annual value of $5.4 million.
The 27-year-old goalie will play the final season of a two-year contract he signed April 23, 2020. He could have become an unrestricted free agent.
Merzlikins was 8-12-5 with a 2.77 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games (23 starts) last season.
“Goaltending is a position of strength for our team, and Elvis Merzlikins has been an important part of that over the past two seasons, so we are very excited to have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will keep him in Columbus for at least the next six years,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is big (6-foot-3, 185 pounds), athletic and has a tremendous passion for the game, and we believe he will be an integral part of our success in the coming years.”
Selected by Columbus in the third round (No. 76) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Merzlikins is 21-21-13 with a 2.54 GAA, .920 save percentage and seven shutouts in 61 games (54 starts).
Since making his NHL debut in 2019, he is tied for fourth in save percentage, tied for fifth in shutouts, and is 11th in goals-against average among goalies with at a minimum of 50 games played.
Merzlikins is 1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .946 save percentage in two Stanley Cup Playoff games.
This offseason, Merzlikins was in attendance when teammate Matiss Kivlenieks died from a fireworks accident on July 4. They were in Novi, Michigan, for the holiday weekend to celebrate the wedding of Blue Jackets goaltending coach Manny Legace’s daughter, Sabrina.
Merzlikins named his son Knox Matiss Merzlikins to pay tribute to Kivlenieks.