Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins will get his first start in over two weeks against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, head coach Pascal Vincent confirmed to reporters.
On Friday, The Athletic reported that the Latvian goaltender said he has not requested a trade but was also adamant that he is “not a backup goaltender.”
Merzlikins, who last appeared Dec. 29 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he allowed two goals on 14 shots in one period of action, is 7-8 with a .907 save percentage and a 3.25 goals-against average this season.
The 29-year-old netminder told The Athletic that he has worked out a “new scenario” with the team. When asked for specifics, Vincent said that was “above my pay grade.”
Merzlikins added, in reference to a trade request, “I love Columbus. I love these guys. I grew up here.”
In 173 appearances, all with the Blue Jackets, Merzlikins is 62-70 with a .906 save percentage and a 3.15 goals-against average. He was Columbus’ third-round (76th overall) pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.