TAMPA — The Lightning added a pair of international free agents to the organization Monday, signing Norwegian left-shot defenseman Emil Martinsen Lilleberg and Finnish right-shot wing Waltteri Merela to two-way contracts.
Lilleberg, 22, played in the top-tier Swedish pro league, compiling three goals and eight assists for IK Oskarshamn in 46 regular-season games last season. He had one assist in three playoff games. The 6-foot-2, 192-pounder also played 20 games for Norway in the past three IIHF World Championships. He signed a two-year deal with the Lightning.
Merela, who agreed to a one-year deal, played in the top-tier pro league in Finland. Two seasons ago, the 24-year-old had 21 goals and 23 assists and was a league-high plus-31 in 57 games. He had 15 goals and 18 assists this past regular season, then scored eight goals and six assists in 14 playoff games. Merela, 6-feet-2, 196 pounds, played for Finland at the most-recent World Championships.
The Lightning also re-signed left-shot defenseman Sean Day to a one-year, two-way deal. Day played for AHL Syracuse the past three seasons, compiling 14 assists in 63 games with the Crunch last season. He had eight goals and 32 assists for Syracuse in 2021-22, when he also played two games with the Lightning.
Since all three are signed to two-way deals, they will receive different salaries depending on whether they are on the NHL or AHL roster. All are expected to compete for roster spots during training camp.
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