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Oilers Might Have Interest in G Elvis Merzlikins [Report]

Elliotte Friedman notes that the Edmonton Oilers could be looking at goaltender Elvis Merzlikins as an off-season option.

Elvis Merzlikins Columbus Blue Jackets
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In his latest 31 Thoughts column, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman writes that the Edmonton Oilers might have an interest in goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. Specifically, he notes, “It might not be something that could happen until the off-season, but Elvis Merzlikins is the kind of goalie who makes sense long-term for Edmonton.”

Next: Top Trade Targets for Oilers Before 2021 NHL Deadline

This isn’t so much a report that a trade is brewing between the Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets or that the two teams have even discussed things. That said, it comes at an interesting time as Merzlikins has another year remaining on his current contract, Blue Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalianen just admitted he’s looking for a top-line center and the Oilers have a potential contract issue on the horizon with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

While any trade involving these two would likely include additional pieces, Friedman did say that this was more likely an off-season move for Edmonton. And, if there is any truth to the speculation, should Nugent-Hopkins not come to terms with the Oilers before NHL free agency, it might make sense for Edmonton to shop him, versus lose him for nothing.

Merzlikins would be a good get for the Oilers and give Edmonton room to make additional moves.

Could Be Two Entirely Separate Things

Before people jump all over us associating these two players, keep in mind, this is just us spit-balling coincidences. It’s very possible Edmonton’s interest in the netminder and their contract talks with Nugent-Hopkins are completely and totally unrelated.

Elvis Merzlikins Columbus Blue Jackets

This Merzlikins thing could be something the Oilers look at regardless of Nuge’s situation and are willing to move other assets to acquire the netminder.

Merzlikins is a 26-year-old backstop who has dealt with some injury issues this season but has strong numbers in a couple of seasons with the Blue Jackets. He’s not a sure thing (only 42 NHL games), but he’s got the long-term potential to be a much stronger 1B than the Oilers currently employ.

And, because GM Ken Holland seems to think a 1A and 1B is the way to go, the connection here makes sense.

Related: Sabres’ Eric Staal Open to Trade, Three Contenders Potentially a Fit

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