Bob Stauffer and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli spoke about the goaltending situation in Edmonton on Stauffer’s Oilers Now show. Specifically speaking about the prospect of adding Elvis Merzlikins in a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Stauffer dropped an interesting nugget, saying the players would be in favor of bringing the netminder in.
Both me delved into the potential acquisition of Merzlikins and Stauffer pointed out an intriguing aspect of the situation, highlighting that Merzlikins’ agent, Gerry Johansson, operates out of Edmonton, suggesting a possible connection for the trade. Additionally, Stauffer noted that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Merzlikins are open to exploring a change of scenery.
What adds a layer of fascination to the prospect of Merzlikins donning an Oilers jersey is the considerable respect Oilers players reportedly hold for him. Recognizing his strong performances in both the league and world championships, it seems the team is comfortable with the idea of Merzlikins guarding their net. This is not to say the players don’t like Jack Campbell. But, if a change is made, it sounds like the players wouldn’t be opposed to Merzlikins being the chosen replacement.
In a recent statement, Merzlikins expressed a resolute focus on the present and future, emphasizing that he has worked on maintaining his mental resilience and blocking out external opinions. That includes a possible trade elsewhere. He said:
“I’m not thinking about the future, and I completely do not care about the past, what happened. And I still don’t care what people are saying, what they’re talking. That was my main problem last year, that I was maybe not focusing, but worrying about what others would think about me.
If the Player Favor Him, Could Merzlikins Be a Fit for the Oilers?
Blue Jackets’ Head coach Pascal Vincent offered praise for Merzlikins, commending his talent, intensity, emotional involvement in the game, and improved control in goal. Vincent highlighted the noticeable transformation in Merzlikins’ playing style. He emphasized an increased composure and intensity while maintaining control—a crucial aspect that was perhaps lacking in the previous season. That’s something that Campbell seems to have a real issue with. The knock is that he’s too hard on himself and gets into a mental rut. In other words, when things go poorly, it gets worse.
The biggest issue with Merzlinkins might not be his ability nor his playing style. It could be his contract. He’s locked in for three more seasons at a cap hit of $5.4 million. Even if he’s an upgrade, how much of an upgrade is he? And, is it worth worsening the Oilers cap situation to add him?
As the discussion around Merzlikins potentially joining the Oilers gains momentum, the goaltender’s mental fortitude and on-ice prowess become key factors in the team’s consideration. The prospect of a new goaltender, backed by the endorsement of the coaching staff and positive player sentiment, adds an element of anticipation to the evolving narrative.
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