Plenty has been wrote about the Jackets top goaltending prospect in their system and for good reason. Elvis Merzlikins is the real deal and has proven all he needs to in Europe. Over the last few years he has dominated the top Swiss League and carried the tiny nation of Latvia to newfound heights on the international stage.
This year Merz is on a down HC Lugano team but he is doing everything he can to help carry this team back to the NLA finals. He has improved his save percentage and goals against average every season and this year is no exception. This year will be his last in Switzerland though and it is expected he will come to North America and play for the Monsters in Cleveland.
Although the Jackets are likely to lose an NHL netminder this offseason, don’t expect Merz to go straight to the Jackets. He will need a year in the AHL to acclimate to North American ice and the AHL is a great league for goalies to get ready for the big show.
In the AHL though I expect Elvis to shine. He has dominated at every level in his career and the AHL should be no different. Or at least we hope because the Jackets need to find another NHL goalie and it doesn’t appear that Matiss Kivlenieks is the answer and Daniil Tarasov and Veini Vehviläinen are still a few years away.
The Cleveland Monsters are always a fun watch but next year will be particularly enjoyable. Not only because of Elvis, but because of the next player on our list.