Elvis Merzlikins

Columbus Blue Jackets

Fantasy Summary

Skilled, large and experienced netminder with a seemingly bright future further honing his game in Europe as Bobrovsky’s contract runs its course.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.0
NHL Certainty 8.5
Country LAT
Position G
Roster Type NHL
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth April 13, 1994
Height 6‘3”
Weight 187 lbs
Drafted 2014 Round 3; Overall: 76

Observations

June 2019 – Merzlikins had a pretty decent season in 2018-19. In 43 regular season games, the Latvian netminder posted a 2.44 GAA and a .921 save percentage for HC Lugano of the NLA. Those numbers prompted the Blue Jackets to sign him to a one-year entry-level contract. With the expected departure of Bobrovsky this off-season, Merzlikins should contend for a backup role. There is certainly fantasy value to be had in keeper leagues if he wins the job in the near future. Frank Pellegrini

March 2019 – Merzlikins has signed a one-year entry level contract with the Blue Jackets. He is coming off of a stellar season with Lugano of the Swiss National League (NLA). There, he finished second among all goaltenders in wins, third in shutouts and fourth in save percentage. As per Blue Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen, “Elvis is a big, athletic goaltender who is ready to take the next step in his career. We think he is the best goaltender outside of the NHL right now and we are excited about his future with our organization.” Very high praise from one of the club’s best talent evaluators. With Sergei Bobrovsky possibly departing this offseason, the future for Merzlikins would seem to involve a competition for full-time duties next fall. Frank Pellegrini

January 2019 – Merzlikins has been named the Latvian Hockey Player of the Year. It was not a close race as he received 25 more first-place votes than the second place player (Zemgus Girgensons). Frank Pellegrini

November 2018 – Merzlikins has opted to stay in Europe for the 2018-2019 campaign. He will play out the final year remaining on his contract with Lugano of the Swiss-A league. The 24-year-old Latvian native has the tools to be a star goaltender but he will be a free agent in two years. With time running out, the Blue Jackets will need to sign him soon to find out if he will be their goalie of the future. Frank Pellegrini

February 2018 – Merzlikins has led HC Lugano to fourth place, just six points out of the top spot in the Swiss NLA while guarding the net in 40 of their 47 contests this campaign. His .920 save percentage ranks seventh and his 2.76 goals eighth among regularly-starting league goaltenders. Kevin Wickersham

December 2017 – Continuing as one of the top NLA goalies, Merzlikins has focused on being a bit less “busy” in net this year, conserving his movement and maintaining composure. His .919 save percentage with HC Lugano ranks sixth in the high scoring Swiss NLA, and his 2.71 goals against average is good for eighth. Kevin Wickersham

October 2017 – Merzlikins’ early campaign has gone well as he’s among NLA leaders with a .925 save percentage and 2.56 goals-against after seven HC Lugano contests. He’s added three wins in this, his fifth year of play with the squad. Kevin Wickersham

July 2017 – Despite Joonas Korpisalo’s NHL experience, Daniil Tarasov’s great promise, and Matiss Kivlenieks’ USHL heroics, the well-decorated and big-bodied Merzlikins may have the highest ceiling of any emerging Blue Jacket goalie prospect. His recent work at the 2017 IIHF World Championship was stellar (.937 SV% in six contests) in leading Team Latvia over Italy, Slovakia and Denmark, and limiting a high-powered Sweden squad to just two goals. He earned the 2016 Jacques Plante Trophy as Swiss National League A top goalie with a 2.76 goals against and .922 save percentage, adding a 2.32 goals against average and .937 save percentage during HC Lugano’s 15-game postseason run to the Finals. Merzlikins previously garnered NLA 2014 Rookie of the Year honors. Under contract through the 2018-19 campaign without NHL/KHL escape clauses, he’ll further develop in well-known surroundings. His calm, focused style even while fending off a barrage of pucks serves him well, and shows growth as some scouts knocked his composure in prior years. A skilled stick handler who handles rebounds well and isn’t afraid to challenge approaching skaters by leaving the crease. Like fellow Blue Jacket prospect Kivlenieks, the butterfly-style Merzlikins hails from Riga, Latvia. Kevin Wickersham


Stats

 Season Team League GP GAA SVS%      Playoffs GP GAA SVS%
 2009-2010 Lugano U17 U17-Elit 25 3.05 - | Playoffs 12 3.29 -
  Lugano U20 U20-Elit 0 - - |        
 2010-2011 Lugano U17 U17-Elit 28 3.95 - | Playoffs 5 3.80 -
  Latvia U17 EYOF 3 3.95 .885 |        
  Latvia U17 (all) International-Jr 4 - - |        
  Latvia U18 WJC-18 D1 2 0.50 .978 |        
  Latvia U18 (all) International-Jr 3 - - |        
 2011-2012 Lugano U20 U20-Elit 8 3.52 - | Playoffs 3 5.07 -
  Ceresio SwissDiv1 0 - - |        
  Latvia U18 WJC-18 4 4.88 .885 |        
  Latvia U18 (all) International-Jr 8 - - |        
  Latvia U20 WJC-20 1 14.00 .720 |        
  Latvia U20 (all) International-Jr 3 - - |        
 2012-2013 Lugano NLA 0 - - | Playoffs 0 - -
  Lugano U20 U20-Elit 30 2.76 - | Playoffs 4 3.84 -
  Latvia U20 WJC-20 3 5.85 .860 |        
  Latvia U20 (all) International-Jr 7 - - |        
 2013-2014 Lugano NLA 22 2.13 .924 | Playoffs 1 0.75 .976
  Lugano U20 U20-Elit 12 2.07 - | Playoffs 10 1.68 -
  Latvia U20 WJC-20 D1A 3 2.36 .900 |        
  Latvia U20 (all) International-Jr 4 - - |        
  Latvia (all) International 1 2.08 - |        
 2014-2015 Lugano NLA 22 2.61 .913 | Playoffs 1 3.25 .846
  Lugano Swiss Cup 1 2.00 - |        
  Latvia (all) International 4 4.65 .813 |        
 2015-2016 Lugano NLA 46 2.76 .922 | Playoffs 15 2.32 .937
  Lugano Swiss Cup 0 - - |        
  Lugano Spengler Cup 4 3.01 .907 |        
  Latvia WC 5 2.91 .912 |        
  Latvia (all) International 8 2.68 .922 |        
 2016-2017 Lugano NLA 41 2.89 .916 | Playoffs 11 2.29 .933
  Lugano Champions HL 6 2.15 .939 |        
  Latvia OGQ 2 1.32 .931 |        
  Lugano Swiss Cup 0 - - |        
  Lugano Spengler Cup 4 2.14 .940 |        
  Latvia WC 6 1.98 .937 |        
  Latvia (all) International 11 1.78 .938 |        
 2017-2018 Lugano NLA 42 2.72 .921 | Playoffs 18 2.17 .935
  Lugano Swiss Cup 0 - - |        
  Latvia WC 6 1.50 .940 |        
  Latvia (all) International 7 1.56 .937 |        
 2018-2019 Lugano NLA 43 2.44 .921 | Playoffs 4 3.95 .872
  Lugano Champions HL 8 2.27 .923 |        
  Lugano Swiss Cup 0 - - |        
  Latvia WC 5 2.78 .914 |        
  Latvia (all) International 5 2.78 .914 |        
 2019-2020 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL - - - |        

Highlights