The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed defenseman Markus Nutivaara on Injured Reserve retroactive to November 5, assigned goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to the Cleveland Monsters, the club's American Hockey League affiliate, and recalled goaltender Elvis Merzlikins and forward Eric Robinson from Cleveland, Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced tonight.
Merzlikins, 25, made his NHL debut on October 5 at Pittsburgh and is 0-1-2 with a 3.91 GAA and .882 SV% in four outings with the Blue Jackets in 2019-20. He made one appearance with Cleveland, stopping 28-of-30 shots in a 2-1 loss vs. the Laval Rocket on Friday. The Riga, Latvia native was selected by Columbus in the third round, 76th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft. He posted a 105-79-7 record with a 2.68 GAA and .920 SV% in 210 career games with HC Lugano in the Swiss League (NLA) from 2013-19 and won the Jacques Plante Trophy as the league's Goaltender of the Year in 2015-16 and 2017-18.
Robinson, 24, has appeared in 14 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets, including 13 games a year ago. Signed by the club as a free agent following his senior year at Princeton University in the spring of 2018, he has picked up 15-14-29 and 21 penalty minutes in 59 career AHL games with Cleveland. This season, he has collected 3-2-5, six penalty minutes and is +2 in 14 games. He registered 39-28-67 and 74 penalty minutes in 138 games during his collegiate career and served as Princeton's captain during his senior season in 2017-18.
Nutivaara suffered an upper body injury in last Tuesday's game vs. Vegas and is listed as day-to-day. The 25-year-old blueliner has registered 16-37-53 with 28 penalty minutes and a +22 plus/minus rating in 217 career NHL games, including 2-0-2 and two penalty minutes in 10 outings this season.
Kivlenieks, 23, did not appear in a game with Columbus after being recalled on November 6. He has gone 5-1-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in seven games with the Monsters this season. The Riga, Latvia native has posted a 23-26-6 record, 3.21 GAA, .889 SV% and two shutouts in 64 career AHL outings with Cleveland since making his professional debut in 2017-18.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Tuesday when they visit the Montreal Canadiens. Game time from Bell Centre is 7 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Ohio and the FOX Sports Go app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with the "Blue Jackets Live" pre-game show. The game will also be broadcast on the Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan.