The Columbus Blue Jackets have returned Daniil Tarasov to the minor leagues, less than a week after he was activated from injured reserve. The young netminder played once during that time, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday
Through 13 appearances this season, Tarasov continues to show that he has the potential to be a full-time NHL option for the Blue Jackets in the near future. The 23-year-old now has a .914 save percentage in his 17-game career, and has arguably outperformed both Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins this season, even if most of his appearances still result in losses (most of the Blue Jackets’ games do).
With Korpisalo on an expiring deal and Tarasov signed to a new three-year contract last summer, his time is coming. The question now will be whether Merzlikins can bounce back from his dreadful 2022-23 season or if there will be a goaltending controversy in Columbus next year.
For now, it doesn’t really matter who plays for the team. Columbus is destined for the bottom of the standings, and letting Tarasov play in the minor leagues may be a better use of his talent. He won’t be waiver-exempt next year, meaning this is the last chance they have to move him freely between leagues.