Blue Jackets cut Curtis McElhinney after poor start vs. Rangers

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The Columbus Blue Jackets streaked their way to the top of the NHL in points this season, going from a team with few expectations to a team that’s ensconced in a playoff seed.

They’d like to stay there, obviously, and would also like to do so without playing Sergei Bobrovsky every night of the season. So they need to depend on their backup goalie to get a start here and there.

That backup goalie was Curtis McElhinney. Well, until Monday.

The Blue Jackets waived Curtis McElhinney and promoted Anton Forsberg after the veteran was terrible in Saturday night’s loss to the New York Rangers, giving up five goals on 34 shots.

He was 5-2 in seven games this season, with a 2.39 GAA and a somewhat stout .924 save percentage. But it’s clear the team lost faith in him, and he lost his tenuous grip on the job, according to Aaron Portzline:

The Blue Jackets have been evaluating their goaltending position beyond starter Sergei Bobrovsky since the start of training camp, with veteran Curtis McElhinney holding on to the No. 2 job and youngsters Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg ripening in the minors.

Forsberg had a 2.16 GAA and a .930 save percentage in 21 games for the Cleveland Monsters, having appeared in nine NHL games with Columbus over the last two seasons. McElhinney will be sent to Cleveland should he clear waivers.

Interesting move, if only that McElhinney is a well-liked guy and it’s not as if the Blue Jackets are in a tailspin by any means, having rebounded to win a huge game over the Philadelphia Flyers. But this move is made to firm up a weak spot on the roster – or at least see what they have in Forsberg before the trade deadline – and as a signal that subpar performances still carry consequences, even for the critical darlings of the NHL season.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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