Tampa Bay Lightning Extend Qualifying Offers

Hugo Alnefelt enters the ice ahead of Laval Vs. Syracuse
Photo by Emma McAnirlin | Inside The Rink

With free agency less than a day away, teams must have given their restricted free agents a qualifying offer by 5 P.M. to protect their rights with the team. Per Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Bay Lightning have extended qualifying offers to Waltteri Merela, Hugo Alnefelt, and newly acquired defenseman J.J. Moser. Moser is the only active RFA on the team as Alnefelt and Merela have elected to play the 2024-25 season overseas. Moser was acquired from the Utah Hockey Club, along with Conor Geekie and two draft picks, in a trade no hockey fan saw coming that sent Mikhail Sergachev the other way. The 24-year-old just finished the last year of his 3-year, $925,000 Annual Average Salary with the then Arizona Coyotes. Moser has appeared in 205 games in his three-year career with the Coyotes.

While Merela has decided to join SC Bern in Switzerland’s top-tier professional league, should he choose to come back to North America, the Lightning will still own his rights with the qualifying offer. The 25-year-old was signed by the Lightning to a one-year contract prior to the start of the 2023-24 season. He played 55 games with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL and 19 with the Lightning.

Alnefelt will not be returning to the Lightning organization for the 2024-25 season as he has elected to return home to Sweden and HV71, where he played a majority of his career. He was the Lightning’s top goalie prospect in the organization. He was drafted 71st in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning. He spent four seasons with the Crunch, where he played 86 games, going 41-27-10 with five shutouts, a 2.87 goals against average, and a .895 save percentage. He’s played two playoff games with the crunch, going 0-1-0 with a .71 GAA and .971 SV%.

The Lightning chose not to extend qualifying offers to non-roster RFA forward Felix Robert or Logan Brown. Robert and Brown will become free agents and can sign elsewhere.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

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Zachary Alvarado

Inside The Rink journalist covering the Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. I am a Duquesne University Sports Information and Media major graduating in December. I have been passionate about hockey since I was 4 years old.

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