Blue Jackets announce news on two goaltenders; Elvis Merlikins to IR, Mattis Kivlenieks recalled from Taxi Squad

Elvis Merzlikins was injured in Saturday’s game against Nashville (file photo by Alexandra
Brown)

FEBRUARY 23, 2021

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins on Injured Reserve retroactive to February 20 and recalled goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to the roster from the club’s taxi squad, General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Merzlikins, 26, suffered an upper body injury on February 20 vs. Nashville and is considered week-to-week.  He has posted a 3-3-1 record with a 2.81 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and a shutout in nine games this season.  He made his NHL debut in 2019-20, finishing with a 13-9-8 record, 2.35 GAA, .923 SV% and five shutouts in 33 appearances.  The Riga, Latvia native was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team after finishing second-T in the League in shutouts and fifth in GAA and SV% (tied).  The 6-3, 185-pound netminder was Columbus’ third-round pick, 76th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kivlenieks, 24, went 1-1-2 with a 2.95 GAA and .898 SV% in six games with the Blue Jackets in 2019-20, including a 31-save performance to beat the New York Rangers, 2-1, at Madison Square Garden in his NHL debut on Jan. 19, 2020.  The 6-2, 183-pound goaltender also posted a 9-8-3 mark with a 2.96 GAA, .904 SV% and one shutout in 20 games with the Monsters last season.  Signed by Columbus as a free agent on May 25, 2017, the Riga, Latvia native has gone 27-33-8 with a 3.23 GAA, .892 SV% and three shutouts in 77 career AHL games over the past three seasons.

The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.  Game time from Nationwide Arena is 7 p.m. ET.  The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Ohio and the FOX Sports Go app with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the “Blue Jackets Live” pre-game show.  It will also be broadcast on the Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station 97.1 The Fan in Columbus.

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