The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that goaltender Daniil Tarasov has been recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters.
Per the team release, starting netminder Elvis Merzlikins is temporarily away from the team as he has returned to Latvia to be with his grandmother, who according to the announcement is seriously ill.
Tarasov’s return to the NHL roster will give Blue Jackets fans a preview of next season, when Tarasov will in all likelihood spend the season at the NHL level. The 23-year-old Russian netminder, who has struggled with significant injury issues over the past two years, loses his waiver eligibility next season, meaning he likely won’t be spending the year with AHL Cleveland as was the plan for this season.
In nine AHL games this season Tarasov has a .871 save percentage, although it is important to note that the Monsters’ lineup has been significantly impacted by the injury issues their parent-club has faced, meaning their talent on defense is more depleted than usual with so many players called-up.
At the NHL level, Tarasov has posted better numbers, with a .908 save percentage in 13 games. He has 17 career NHL games under his belt, and a career .914 save percentage, providing some optimism that he’ll be ready to back up Merzlikins next season. For as long as Merzlikins is away, Tarasov will share Columbus’ crease with veteran Michael Hutchinson.