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.