Tampa Bay Lightning’s Waltteri Merela Signs With SC Bern

Waltteri Merela gets set for a faceoff.
Photo Credit: Brett Ballachino | Inside The Rink

Waltteri Merela has signed with SC Bern in the National League which is Switzerland’s top-tier professional hockey league. The Tampa Bay Lightning signed the 25-year-old to a one-year, two-way contract as an undrafted free agent before the start of the 2023-24 season from Tappara of the Finish Elite League. Merela was scheduled to be a Restricted Free Agent this summer. Though he is signed to Bern for the upcoming season, the Lightning could still extend a qualifying offer to keep his rights with the organization.

Merela made his NHL debut in the season opener against the Nashville Predators on October 10, 2023, in front of a sold-out Amalie Arena crowd. Merela had his name on the lineup sheet 10 games to begin the season, showing signs of a good fit for a permanent spot in the Lightning lineup at some point. Unable to get his name in the goal column, he was reassigned to the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse Crunch, on November 5. Fast forward to January with a ton of injury woes in the Lightning lineup; Merela was recalled to the Lightning on January 16, 2024.

Merela was back in the Lightning lineup a couple of days later in a meeting with the Minnesota Wild on home ice. It would be a game Merela would not forget as he would collect his first NHL goal to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead in what would be an eventual 7-3 win for the Lightning.

Via NHL on X

During his time with the Lightning, Merela appeared in 19 games, tallying just one goal and a plus-two rating. He spent 55 games in the Crunch lineup, where he accumulated 15 goals and 34 points during the regular season and three goals in eight games in the postseason.

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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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