The Columbus Blue Jackets have nothing to play for except pride (and a better draft pick) at this point, after losing nine straight and falling to the bottom of the Central Division standings. Several key players have been ruled out for the rest of the season and now another joins that list. Joonas Korpisalo will not play again this year after suffering a lower-body injury on Sunday. It is not clear if it is a long-term injury, but he will not play again in 2020-21.
The team also announced a handful of other moves. Liam Foudy has been recalled from the AHL, and Matiss Kivlenieks has been brought up from the taxi squad under emergency conditions. Daniil Tarasov has been added to the taxi squad and Cliff Pu is on his way back to the AHL.
Korpisalo, 26, didn’t have the kind of season many expected, posting an .894 save percentage through 33 appearances for Columbus. Those struggles, along with the team’s make an obvious case for the Blue Jackets to move on from the Finnish goaltender in the offseason. Both Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins are on contracts that will expire at the end of next season, leaving them unrestricted free agents able to sign anywhere. If they could get anything in return for Korpisalo, who carries a $2.8MM cap hit, it seems prudent.
Of course, that may be easier said than done. Though he was a strong performer in the 2019-20 season, Korpisalo doesn’t have a very encouraging body of work over his NHL career so far. In 160 appearances he has recorded a .905 save percentage, fluctuating wildly from one season to the next. The potential is there to be a legitimate starting goaltender—he showed that last season when he was selected to the All-Star Game—but it has too rarely shown itself. An acquiring team would need to believe in him and want to extend him past 2021-22 in order for the Blue Jackets to really get much value in trade, especially now coming off an injury.