The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled a trio of players from the AHL. Defenseman Philippe Myers and Maxwell Crozier were both assigned to the Syracuse Crunch just two days ago, making their transactions effectively paper moves. However, forward Waltteri Merelä was the third recall and has been in the AHL since mid-November.
Tampa Bay had a four-day gap between games and opted to return Myers, Crozier, and forward Gage Goncalves to the AHL where they were able to dress for Syracuse in a 5-4 win over the Utica Comets yesterday. With Tampa Bay back in action on Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild, the Lightning have opted to recall the two defensemen and a different forward in Merelä.
Merelä earned his recall after a two-month stretch with the Crunch. He has dressed in 23 games with Syracuse and has six goals and 10 assists during that time. He has been on a heater as of late with four goals and three assists in his last five games. During an NHL stretch earlier in the season, the 25-year-old was held pointless in 14 games but did provide some physicality in Tampa Bay’s bottom six with 18 hits during his recall.
Merelä is in his first season in North America, after playing in his native Finland during the first five years of his professional hockey career. It will be interesting to see what types of adjustments he has made since going to the AHL and if it can translate to the NHL game. Merelä has also had a few more months of living in North America which may also help his comfort level in this NHL recall.