Elvis Merzlikins signs five-year extension for $27M with Blue Jackets; takes aim at Vezina Trophy

Blue Jackets extend Merzlikins.

Elvis Merzlikins
May 1, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) gets ready for the start of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins on Tuesday signed a five-year, $27 million contract extension through the 2026-27 season.

Merzlikins, 27, owns a 21-21-13 record with a 2.54 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and seven shutouts in 61 career games (54 starts) in two seasons with the Blue Jackets.

Blue Jackets extend Elvis Merzlikins

“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,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

Merzlikins posted an 8-12-5 record with a 2.77 GAA, .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 appearances (23 starts) last season.

“He is big, 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.”

Merzlikins dedicating season to lost friend

Elvis Merzlikins
Feb 15, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas (88) and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) watch the puck during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Elvis Merzlikins is dedicating this season to Matiss Kivlenieks who lost his life tragically in a 4th of July accident.

“I don’t want to make any promises, but I can tell you … my plan is to win a Vezina Trophy,” Merzlikins told The Athletic in comments published Tuesday. “I’m gonna win a … Vezina for him. We can’t make promises because this is hockey and we don’t know how the season can go, but this is my goal. I believe I’m going to reach it.”

NHL.com

Speaking at a private memorial service in Arlington, Ohio, Merzlikins said his teammate’s actions saved him and his pregnant wife from the errant fireworks blast.

“He saved not just many lives, but when it happened, I was standing 20, 30 feet back of him and I was hugging my wife,” Merzlikins said, per ESPN. “He saved my son, he saved my wife, and he saved me.”

–Field Level Media contributed to this report