The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins on Injured Reserve and have added goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to the roster from the club's taxi squad, Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Columbus has also recalled goaltender Cam Johnson to the taxi squad from the Cleveland Monsters, the team's American Hockey League affiliate.
Merzlikins, 26, suffered an upper body injury in practice on Wednesday and is day-to-day. He has posted a 2-2-1 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in six games with the Blue Jackets in 2020-21. He made his NHL debut in 2019-20, finishing with a 13-9-8 record, 2.35 GAA, .923 SV% and five shutouts in 33 appearances. The Riga, Latvia native was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team after finishing second-T in the League in shutouts and fifth in GAA and SV% (tied). The 6-3, 185-pound netminder was Columbus' third-round pick, 76th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft.
Kivlenieks, 24, went 1-1-2 with a 2.95 GAA and .898 SV% in six games with the Blue Jackets in 2019-20, including a 31-save performance to beat the New York Rangers, 2-1, at Madison Square Garden in his NHL debut on Jan. 19, 2020. The 6-2, 183-pound goaltender also posted a 9-8-3 mark with a 2.96 GAA, .904 SV% and one shutout in 20 games with the Monsters last season. Signed by Columbus as a free agent on May 25, 2017, the Riga, Latvia native has gone 27-33-8 with a 3.23 GAA, .892 SV% and three shutouts in 77 career AHL games over the past three seasons.
Johnson, 26, has gone 11-16-5 with a 3.80 GAA, .873 SV% and one shutout in 32 career AHL games with the Binghamton Devils and 23-11-2 with a 2.28 GAA, .926 SV% and five shutouts in 38 career ECHL contests since 2018. He signed a one-year, two-way NHL/AHL contract with Columbus on Jan. 9, 2021 and has posted a 6-1-0 record with a 1.77 GAA, .941 SV% and two SO in seven games with the ECHL's Florida Everblades this season. The Troy, Michigan native played four seasons at the University of North Dakota from 2014-18, compiling a 56-26-12 record, 2.10 GAA, .914 SV% and 12 shutouts in 102 career outings.
The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they host the Dallas Stars. Game time from Nationwide Arena is 7 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Ohio and the FOX Sports Go app with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the "Blue Jackets Live" pre-game show. It will also be broadcast on the Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including WXZX 105.7 FM in Columbus.