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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 16.07.2019, 01:33

Merzlikins signs contract with Columbus Blue Jackets

BC, Riga, 21.03.2019.Print version

Latvian national hockey team's starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins has signed a one-year entry level contract with the NHL club Columbus Blue Jackets, the club announced on Wednesday, writes LETA. 


The 24-year-old Merzlikins has closed the season at the Swiss hockey club Lugano and is planning to move to North America. He is expected to arrive in Columbus after immigration protocols are completed.


The plan is for Merzlikins to spend the remainder of the season with the American Hockey League club Cleveland Monsters. He could make his debut with the Monsters at the end of March.


"Elvis Merzlikins is a big, athletic goaltender who has performed at a very high level in the Swiss League with Lugano and is ready to take the next step in his career," said the Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. "We think he is the best goaltender outside of the NHL right now and are excited about his future with our organization."

Merzlikins, who was named Latvia's best hockey player last year, has recorded a save percentage of 92% in 210 Swiss National League games. He was twice named the league's best goaltender of the season.


Merzlikins has suited up for the Latvian national team at three Hockey World Championships.


As reported, Merzlikins was selected by the Blue Jackets with the 76th selection in the 2014 NHL draft. Another Latvian goaltender, Matiss Kivlenieks, is also currently playing in the Blue Jackets system.


The Blue Jackets are currently in seventh place in the NHL's Eastern Conference standings with 84 points from 73 games.





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