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Blue Jackets young goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins named to NHL All-Rookie Team

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

 

Merzlikins is the fifth player, and second goaltender, in club history to earn NHL All-Rookie honors

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team, the club and NHL announced tonight.  Voting for the All-Rookie team was conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season. He was joined on the All-Rookie Team by forwards Dominik Kubalik (Chicago), Victor Olofsson (Buffalo) and Nick Suzuki (Montreal) and defensemen Quinn Hughes (Vancouver) and Cale Makar (Colorado).

Elvis Merzilikins

Merzlikins, 26, posted a 13-9-8 record with a 2.35 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and five shutouts in 33 games during the 2019-20 regular season.  He led all NHL rookies (minimum 20 games) in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts and ranked third-T in wins (New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood, 22-14-8 and Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, 16-6-2).  Among all NHL netminders, he ranked second in shutouts (tied) and fifth in goals-against average and save percentage (tied).

 

Playing in his first season in North America, Merzlikins became the sixth goaltender, and second rookie, since 1929-30 to record five shutouts in a span of eight games between Jan. 11 and Feb. 7 as he went 8-0-0 with a 1.00, GAA and .967 SV%.  During that span, Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets earned shutout wins at Las Vegas on Jan. 11 (3-0, 27 saves), vs. Boston on Jan. 14 (3-0, 34 saves), vs. New Jersey on Jan. 18 (5-0, 41 saves), vs. Florida (1-0, 32 saves) on Feb. 4 and vs. Detroit (2-0, 16 saves) on Feb. 7.

 

The Riga, Latvia native also made his postseason debut this year, appearing in two games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs Qualifying Series vs. Toronto before being sidelined due to injury.  He went 1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .946 SV% in those games.  He stopped all 21 shots he faced in 49:35 of play to pick up the win in relief of Joonas Korpisalo on August 6 and made a career-high 49 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs on August 7.

 

Merzlikins is the fifth player in Blue Jackets history to be named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team, joining defenseman Rostislav Klesla (2001-02), forward Rick Nash (2002-03), goaltender Steve Mason (2008-09) and defenseman Zach Werenski (2016-17).  He was selected by Columbus in the third round, 76th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

 

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