Elvis Merzlikins is a highly touted prospect for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the fans should hold their judgement until he plays in the NHL.
There’s certainly a lot of questions going forward in regards to the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltending situation. There’s uncertainly with how long Sergei Bobrovsky will be with the team and Joonas Korpisalo‘s potential has come into question, as a result much of the hype for the future goes onto the prospects.
The prospect who’s widely considered the most “NHL ready” is Latvia native Elvis Merzlikins. He’s a top goaltender in the Swiss National League. There’s no guarantee that he’ll make the jump to North America next season, however Swiss media already sees it as a possibility.
The issue is, many fans are seemingly expecting Merzlikins to be able to fill Bobrovsky’s shoes immediately which won’t be the case. It’ll take time for him to grow into the NHL and odds are, he won’t be a two time Vezina trophy winner either.
Putting unnecessary pressure on Merzlikins by thinking he’ll be a superstar before he makes his first start in the NHL could potentially hurt him in the long run. Patience and realistic expectations are important with Merzlikins. More than likely he won’t be an all-star goaltender, it’s possible he will be, however not many goalies reach that level.
It’s great to want Merzlikins to succeed, however if possible, holding out an opinion either positive or negative on him is the best option. Don’t get too excited about him, however don’t assume he’s going to fail either. Nobody can know how good he’ll actually be until we’ve seen him play at the NHL level.
Not many players will be able to fill Sergei Bobrovsky’s shoes if he decides to leave, however either Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins will be forced to attempt it going forward. It’s hard to tell who will be given the reigns and become the starting goaltender, however the point remains. Reserving judgement on Merzlikins is the only way to potentially avoid disappointment.