Harju Reassigned to Norfolk; McElhinney Waived

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forward Johan Harju to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Lightning Recall Mike Vernace from Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have recalled defenseman Mike Vernace from the Admirals today, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. The move was made because Lightning defenseman Matt Smaby is ill.

Johan Harju Recalled by Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Johan Harju (har-YOO) from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Harju, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, has appeared in seven games with Tampa Bay this season, recording a goal and two points. He notched his first NHL point on December 4 against Colorado with an assist and followed that up with his first NHL goal December 7 at Calgary. Harju has skated in 40 games with the Admirals in his North American debut this season, recording 18 goals and 35 points with a plus-13 rating. He leads Norfolk in goals and is tied for third in points and power play goals (3). Harju represented Norfolk in the AHL All-Star Classic, recording an assist.

A native of Overtornea, Sweden, Harju played in 55 regular season games with the Moscow Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League last season, recording four goals and 18 points. He played two playoff games with Moscow, recording a goal and eight penalty minutes.

Harju has represented Sweden at the previous two IIHF World Championships, held in Switzerland and Germany respectively. In 2009 he recorded two goals and four points. This past summer he notched four goals and five points.

He was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 167th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
--Tampa Bay Lightning

Ritola Clears Waivers; Assigned to Norfolk

TSN and the St. Pete Times are reporting Lightning prospect Mattias Ritola has cleared waivers. Despite injuries to Lightning forwards Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson, Ritola was assigned to AHL Norfolk late in the day.

The Times' Damian Cristodero wrote today that Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said "We just need [Ritola] to play games."

Ritola, who has battled Meneiere's disease all season, has played 24 games with the Lightning and has frequently been a healthy scratch so coach Guy Boucher can dress seven defensemen. Ritola, who displays good offensive ability but has been suspect along the walls, has two goals and six points with Tampa Bay.

He was acquired off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings in September. With Ritola clearing waivers today, it's obvious the Wings did not want him back as they have the choice to reclaim him and place him with their AHL affiliate.

By joining Norfolk, Ritola will provide an offensive spark to a club that appears to have hit a wall.

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