Blue Jackets Rumors: GM Gives Strong Opinion Regarding Potential Trade Of Elvis Merzlikins

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Don Waddell has addressed the trade rumors surrounding disgruntled goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, whose future with the team has been the subject of much speculation following a difficult season. 

Despite Merzlikins' hefty contract of $5.4 million per season through 2026-27 and a 10-team no-trade clause, Waddell made it clear that trading or buying out the goaltender is not an option. 

"Let's be honest, nobody is going to trade for that contract. Nobody," Waddell stated to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, emphasizing that a buyout would impose a prolonged financial burden on the team's cap space.

Waddell, who took over as GM last month, is focused on giving Merzlikins another opportunity to establish himself as the Blue Jackets' starting goaltender. 

Merzlikins' frustrations had peaked when he was relegated to a third-string position for several weeks in December and early January, which led to his misunderstood trade request in January. 

Despite the challenging circumstances, Waddell believes that with the right support and renewed confidence, Merzlikins can reclaim his form and be a key player for the team. "Let’s put all the resources we can toward it," Waddell said, indicating a renewed focus on maximizing Merzlikins' potential.

Over his first three seasons, Merzlikins held an impressive .913 SV%, 2.88 GAA, nine shutouts, and a 48-44-20 record across 120 games played.

The recent firing of head coach Pascal Vincent could provide Merzlikins with additional motivation and a fresh start under new leadership. 

Waddell's commitment to keeping Merzlikins suggests a desire to stabilize the team's goaltending situation and build a strong foundation for the upcoming season. 

Reflecting on his past interest in Merzlikins during his tenure with the Carolina Hurricanes, Waddell remains confident in the goaltender's abilities. 

"If we succeed, we keep moving forward. If we fail, well, now we have to figure things out," Waddell remarked, underscoring the pivotal nature of the upcoming season for both Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets.

Over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old has an ugly .889 SV%, 3.77 GAA, one shutout, and a 20-35-10 record across 71 games played.

Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports