In the third round (86th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected goalie Daniil Tarasov. During the 2021-’22 season, Tarasov had his ups and downs, as many young goaltenders trying to make the jump to the next level tend to. Tarasov played just 11 games for the Cleveland Monsters, where he recorded a 5-3-4 record .893 save percentage, nothing really eye-popping. Tarasov did make his way to Columbus and had four starts and performed well, posting a .937 save percentage with no wins. Tarasov’s season ended due to a hip injury that required surgery. This season, Tarasov is beginning to look the part of an NHL starting goalie.
With both Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins injured, Daniil Tarasov has gotten the nod many nights in goal for the Blue Jackets. Tarasov’s numbers are a bit deceiving a 2-6-1 record in nine starts, with 3.03 goals against average to go with a .915 save percentage; Tarasov has been steady in the net. Injuries to many Blue Jackets have led to a poor record; throw the record away for a moment.
Both Korpisalo and Merzlikins have struggled when healthy; Tarasov has been very calm and focused—even possessing a 3.9 GSAx in 5v5 situations. While injuries have forced the Blue Jackets’ hand, and the organization was pressed to call Tarasov up, that is not a bad thing. Tarasov should absolutely be in Cleveland with the Monsters. Still, Tarasov has and is showing he will be in the mix for starting goalie very soon.
Merzlikins, who has not been right this season, has been put on the back burner when healthy, while Tarasov has taken center stage. When Korpisalo returns from injury, it is expected Tarasov will be returned to Cleveland. In what amounts to a throwaway season in Columbus, the organization is getting looks at prospects as injuries have mounted.
Daniil Tarasov is looking at the part of the Blue Jackets’ starting goalie very soon. If that means a combination of Tarasov/Korpisalo or Tarasov/Merzlikins is unknown at this time. One thing is clear, Daniil Tarasov has the makings of a very solid starting goaltender.