Blue Jackets Rumors: Former #1 Goalie Finished in Columbus

The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the NHL's worst run organizations and have made headlines this season for all the wrong reasons. Turns out they could be a team to watch ahead of the trade deadline in early March as conversations have picked up in a major way of late.

One name to watch - goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. The 29-year-old netminder hasn't played a couple of weeks as the team is carrying three netminders and have given 24-year-old Daniil Tarasov some run. The organization wants to see what they have in Tarasov, which means the end could be near for Merzlikins.

The Latvia native has three more seasons left on his contract at $5.4 million AAV and he does hold trade protection against 10 teams of his choice. In 23 appearances this season, on a very subpar Blue Jackets team, he's managed a respectable .907 Sv.%. 

Merzlikins continues to be scattered all over insider's trade boards as the deadline approaches and has already been linked to the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers. Columbus will likely have to retain some of his salary in any move as cap space is hard to come by around the league. 

Sportnet's insiders recently named Merzlikins as a trade candidate and had this to say:

The Blue Jackets have spent portions of the season carrying three goaltenders on their roster, and there are rumblings that both Merzlikins and the club would be open to a fresh start. The Hurricanes and Oilers come to mind as potential landing spots. That said, moving a player with so much term and money remaining on his deal — the Latvian is locked up through 2026-27 at a $5.4-million cap hit — is never easy. Nor is there any rush on Columbus’s end to complete such a deal by March 8. Merzlikins is enjoying a solid bounce-back campaign behind a young team. He holds a 10-team no-trade list.

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