Question No. 3: Who can the Kings expect to face in net tonight? Elvis Merzlikins?
"A: “Currently, Elvis Merzlikins is away from the club to deal with his grandmother’s passing in Latvia. Daniil Tarasov took to the crease on Tuesday night in San Jose; the other goaltender we have right now is Michael Hutchinson Tarasov is probably the most talented goaltender we have, but he’s very raw and still learning the ropes. Hutchinson was just acquired at the deadline from Vegas – in the Jonathan Quick trade. We play again tomorrow night, so it could go either way.”"
Daniil Tarasov was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft with the 86th overall pick. He played his first NHL game in the 2021-2022 season and now is getting some quality playing time after Joonas Korpisalo being traded to the Kings and Elvis Merzlikins being out for personal reasons. Right now, Tarasov has a .903 save percentage with 42 goals against in 14 games played.
Michael Hutchinson, on the other hand, was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft with the 77th overall pick. A career journeyman in the league, he has played for the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and now the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Hutchinson has only played in three games for the Blue Jackets and has a .873 save percentage and a 4.36 goals against average. Needless to say, Deem is right in saying that Tarasov is the far better goalie option for Columbus.