When Simon Ryfors was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning back in May of 2021 it was to provide a little depth at the AHL level and possibly have a shot at filling some holes at the NHL level. After two seasons of playing with the Syracuse Crunch and fulfilling the first role fairly well, it looks like he’s chosen to return to his native Sweden and pursue his professional career there.
After running the article through Google Translate, the details of the deal appear to be a four-year deal with Rogle BK Angelholm in the Swedish Hockey League. It’s the team he played with prior to the Lightning signing him back in May of 2021.
For Ryfors, who was set to be a restricted free agent following his two-year deal with the Lightning, it provides a little security financially. Chances are that the Lightning would have offered him a deal, but it would have been for less than four years and likely at a lower salary (financial terms were not disclosed for the contract with Rogle BK).
As for the Lightning organization this is a little bit of a blow for their depth. The 25-year-old did make it on our Top 25 Under 25 list in his one year of eligibility, placing 21st on the 2021 list. Ryfors did struggle a little bit on his first season with the Crunch as he adjusted to the North American style and ice rinks. In his first season he scored 11 goals and added 24 assists in 72 games. Always billed as possessing a strong shot his scoring blossomed in 2022-23 as he found the back of the net 27 times and assisted on 32 goals. The 59 points trailed only Alex Barré-Boulet while his 27 goals led the team and tied for 16th in the league.
It is possible that he could have been in competition for one of the open forward spots on the Lightning next year. A lack of NHL-speed could have been an obstacle to him taking the next level, but he does have one of those engines that never seems to stop and he could have compensated by being a tireless forechecker in the mold of Yanni Gourde. With spots on the bottom-six open, he could have slid in with a strong training camp.
Even if he didn’t make it at the NHL to start next year, he would likely have been on one of the top two lines with the Crunch next season. So, while that’s one less RFA for general manager Julien BriseBois to worry about, it’s also another hole to fill in the organization this summer.
Best of luck to Simon as he continues his journey in Europe.