Columbus Blue Jackets: Fate Of The Franchise Hangs On Elvis Merzlikins
Admit it Columbus Blue Jacket fans, Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t coming back. The free agent has likely played his last game with the team. It’ll be a sad off-season, to say the least. Some may call Bob the greatest Blue Jacket of all-time. In saying that, the future is now for Columbus. Thankfully, they’ve got a shining light at the end of the tunnel, Elvis Merzlikins.
Merzlikins is the new kid in town. The Latvian-born star goalie will more than likely enter his first NHL season as the starting goaltender for a playoff contending team. Talk about pressure, although, Merzlikins seems to be up for it.
The 25-year-old has found great success with the National League, HC Lugano. The Switzerland based hockey club has seen some great play from Merzlikins, including taking home two Jacques Plante Trophies as the National League’s top goaltender.
Playing in the NHL will bring forth a lot of challenges and new obstacles for Merzlikins. The confidence he’s had in the NL will play a vital role in him succeeding at the NHL level. He’ll be going up against the world’s best. And, as mentioned before, this isn’t a Columbus team that aims to be bad. They have intent to make it to the Stanley Cup, despite losing Bob and potentially Artemi Panarin.
It’ll be an odd time for the Jackets. Therefore, it’s a safe assumption the analysts won’t want anything to do with them. This will be tied into the Merzlikins decision. Who’s going to want to put all of their eggs into a basket with a rookie goaltender from Switzerland manning the crease?
There really shouldn’t be cause for concern in Columbus. The past numbers with HC Lugano are very telling. He’s not played NHL talent before, though, it’s not fair to write him off. For all we, know Elvis Merzlikins could be better than Bob. I’d not count on this, but he’ll be good enough to get the Jackets to the postseason. As of right now, that’s about all you can ask for.
How do you feel about the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Elvis Merzlikins? Leave a comment below.
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