General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Wednesday that the Blue Jackets signed the 25-year-old Latvian to a one-year contract for 2019-20. Merzlikins is expected to compete for the starting job in Columbus.
Joonas Korpisalo was Bobrovsky's backup this season, and the Blue Jackets acquired veteran goaltender Keith Kinkaid in a midseason trade. Both players also are free agents but could return to Columbus and compete with Merzlikins for the starting job.
Merzlikins is currently playing for Latvia at the world championships. He was selected by the Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2014 draft and has been playing in the Swiss National League.