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Florida Panthers recall Aleksi Saarela from AHL Springfield

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Saarela tags in for departed forward Jayce Hawryluk

San Jose Sharks v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Florida Panthers have recalled forward Aleksi Saarela from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Saarela has appeared in three scoreless games with Florida this season. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound native of Helsinki, Finland, has also played in 43 games for the Thunderbirds, recording 12 goals and 31 points, and five games for the Rockford Ice Hogs, notching one assist.

He registered two shots on goal in 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 7. A day later, he finished with one shot on goal and a +1 rating in a 5-1 win over Los Angeles. In his final game with Cats on December 10, before being sent back to Springfield he was held without a shot and went -1 in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound native of Helsinki, Finland, has also played in 43 games for the Thunderbirds,recording 12 goals and 31 points, and five games for the Rockford Ice Hogs, notching one assist.

Saarela has appeared in a total of 195 career regular season AHL games over four seasons (2016-17 to 2019-20) for Springfield, Rockford, and the Charlotte Checkers, producing 139 total points (73G/66A). He won the 2019 Calder Cup with Charlotte, notching seven goals and 15 points in 17 postseason games.

Florida acquired the 23-year-old Saarela from the Chicago Blackhawks on October 22, 2019, in exchange for defenseman Ian McCoshen. He was originally selected by the New York Rangers in the third round (89th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.