This off-season started with a lot of speculation regarding a goaltender trade. The top name to be traded, among fans and reporters alike, was Joonas Korpisalo. Sadly, upon the unfortunate and accidental passing of Matiss Kivlenieks, this never had a chance. Further, the team wanted more for the fair goaltender than other teams were willing to part with. This included both players and draft picks. Not unreasonable, but also a bit steep for teams looking to build a good defense, just as the Blue Jackets are.
With the news yesterday, regarding Merzlikins 5-year contract extension, rumors began to swirl yet again. However, people need to remember the previous season, and that Matiss Kivlenieks played his few games in the NHL, due to starting goaltenders being injured. When asked about the situation today, Merzlikins made it clear that Korpisalo was very happy for him. Further, Kekalainen had this to say, when asked “So what if Korpisalo has a great year, would he then be a candidate to be re-signed as well? To which he replied: “Why not? That would be a great problem to have.” (Twitter, via @JacketsInsider) He replied and that is 100% correct. Having two great goaltenders, coaching staff and front office management dream of having that problem, believe me!
So, as it stands, Merzlikins and Korpisalo will share the ice this season, yet again. However, it was also made very clear today that the even split, between the two, is all but over. The men will earn their time this year, as the team branches onward and looks toward a future, one without Covid-19 holding such restriction. So, if you thought the drama was over, after the Foligno, Seth, and Atkinson trades…well, it looks like you were wrong. In my mind, this makes waiting for Monday’s first preseason game, all the more agonizing!
Blue Jackets Media Day (9/22/21)
Jeff Svoboda Official Twitter Page. @JacketsInsider