With Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart in free agency, Korpisalo is expected to have an opportunity to lock down the number one role next season, something that GM Jarmo Kekalainen alluded to in a statement:
The 2019-20 season will provide Joonas Korpisalo with a great opportunity to prove himself in the National Hockey League and I am confident that he is ready for that challenge. He has played sparingly over the past three seasons and that can be difficult, especially for a young goaltender, but he has all the tools – size, quickness, athleticism and a passion to win – that it takes to be a very successful goaltender in this league.
Korpisalo played in 27 games with Columbus last season, posting a 2.95 GAA with a .897 SV%, a number that matched his career low. Over parts of four NHL seasons, he has yet to really emerge as a potential starter of the future despite that being the hope for him for several years now. But with Bobrovsky gone and prospect Elvis Merzlikins expected to be their other goalie, Korpisalo now has a chance to really solidify himself.
Accordingly, the one-year term should come as minimal surprise. The 25-year-old will still be a restricted free agent next offseason with arbitration eligibility so if he can secure the starting role, a long-term deal at that time makes more sense. If not, the team should easily be able to change direction between the pipes at that time.