What Should the Blue Jackets Do With Elvis Merzlikins?

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is still with the CBJ. Earlier in the season, Elvis made it clear that he wanted a change of scenery.
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While it was unlikely that he would be traded at the trade deadline, there was a possibility that he could be moved to a team that desperately needed a goalie.

So, where does the team and the Latvian netminder go from here? A resolution will come in the summer once a new general manager is hired. That new general manager will have 3 potential options.

Trade Elvis

This is easier said than done. The combination of Elvis $5.4 million cap hit (3 years left) and his recent performance make trading Elvis very difficult.

Most teams won’t make that trade. There appears to be two ways to trade Elvis. The first method is to retain salary. If the CBJ are willing to retain between 25-50% of his salary, then another NHL club may be willing to take on the goaltender.

The return may not be that great, but at least Elvis gets his change of scenery and most of his cap hit is off the payroll.

The second method is to trade for another player with a similar salary. It is not uncommon for teams to swap underperforming players with similar salaries / cap hits. It is possible that the CBJ trade Elvis for a similar type of player.

If the CBJ play their cards correctly, then maybe they could acquire a player with a slightly lower cap hit, less term on their contract, and/or more upside with their talent. No matter how a trade is constructed, it will not be a great trade for the CBJ and will be difficult to piece together.