Tampa Bay Lightning Preseason Standouts: Waltteri Merela
We highlighted Merela last week as a potential hidden gem for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2023-24.
The 6’2″ and 196-pound center from Finland had two productive seasons with Tappara in the Liiga in Finland, scoring 33 points last season in 41 games.
So far in the preseason, Jon Cooper has played Merela all over the ice, and the 25-year-old has impressed. Merela has two goals and one assist thus far in the preseason.
Perhaps most telling of what Cooper thinks of Merela and why some paying attention believe he has a real shot of making the cut for the Bolts is at the end of their game against Nashville on Saturday when the Lightning were hanging on to a one-goal lead as the Predators pulled their goalie, Cooper sent Merela out there to help hold the fort down.