The Columbus Blue Jackets signed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a two-year contract extension on Thursday, the team announced.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but according to multiple reports, the annual average value for Merzlikins’ deal is $4 million.
The 26-year-old Latvian rookie is tied for second in shutouts (5) and is fifth in goals-against average (2.35) and save percentage (.923) this season.
He has a 13-9-8 record this season with 848 saves and has logged 1,815 minutes in 33 games (31 starts).
“We’ve believed for several years that Elvis Merzlikins was the best goaltender outside the NHL while he was playing in Switzerland and this year he has shown that he has the ability and drive to be a very good goaltender in this league,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He is quick, athletic and driven to succeed and we are excited to see what the future holds for Elvis and our hockey club.”
A week ago, the Blue Jackets also signed goalie Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year deal with a reported AAV of $2.8 million.
Korpisalo earned an All-Star berth with a strong first half last season, but he suffered a knee injury in December and was sidelined 24 games. That opened the door for Merzlikins.
Both goalies filled a major void when All-Star Sergei Bobrovsky signed with Florida last offseason.