The Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Jonne Tammela on unconditional waivers today. Whether a buyout, or a mutual termination, it means that the Lightning and Tammela will be parting ways with one year left on his entry level contract. In 51 career games in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, Tammela only managed four goals and 11 points. He put up 13 goals and 26 points in 23 games for the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL this past season.
Tammela was drafted 118th overall in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning. He was viewed as being a fourth line, energy winger. He was a gritty player with a good bit of pest in him, despite not being overly large at 5’11” and 185 pounds. He remained in Finland for one more season after his draft year and debuted with the Syracuse Crunch for three games at the end of the 2015-16 season after signing a three-year entry level contract.
Tammela suffered a knee injury prior to the start of the 2016-17 while training that required surgery. He returned to action for two games with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL before re-injuring his knee and requiring a second surgery. The second injury kept him out until well into the 2017-18 season. He was able to return to action for the latter part of the season and put up three goals and six points in 28 games for the Crunch.
This past season, he bounced around between the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears and finally seemed to be getting on track with the Solar Bears as he excelled in the ECHL. Unfortunately, losing a year and a half of playing time likely stalled his development on top of any longer term impacts of the knee surgeries. We saw a similar situation with a former Lightning prospect in Dana Tyrell who twice tore his ACL and was never the same player again.
For Tammela, this will likely mean a return to his native Finland for professional hockey. It would not be a surprise to see him return to Liiga hockey with KalPa.
It was unfortunate that things did not work out for him in the Lightning organization. He was an intriguing prospect when he was drafted and was often seen laughing and having a good time when he was on the ice. We’d like to wish Jonne the best of luck in the rest of his hockey career.