The Columbus Blue Jackets signed goaltender Elvis Merlikins to a one-year deal on Wednesday, giving the Latvian a chance to compete for the team's starting job in 2019-20. Merzlikins, a third-round pick by Columbus in 2014, has yet to make his NHL debut. The 25-year-old is currently playing for Latvia at the 2019 IIHF World Championships and has played for Lugano of the Swiss National League since 2013.
This season, he went 22-18-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 43 games. The Blue Jackets are expected to let starter and two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky depart in free agency this offseason. Joonas Korpisalo and Keith Kinkaid -- who was acquired midseason from New Jersey -- are also set to be free agents.
(With inputs from agencies.)