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Report: Lightning F Merela returning to Europe

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Waltteri Merela is returning to Europe to play for SC Bern of the Swiss pro league, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times.

Merela played 19 games with the Bolts in 2023-24, his only NHL season, scoring one goal. He last appeared in an NHL game on Jan. 27.

The 25-year-old also played in 55 games with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, tallying 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points. He added three goals in eight AHL playoff games.

Merela signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning last summer. He'd spent the previous two seasons with Tappara Tampere of Finland's SM-liiga before signing with Tampa.