The Red Wings had to put Mattias Ritola on waivers because that was the only way he could be sent down to Grand Rapids. The hope was that Ritola would clear waivers and be able to spend another year developing in Grand Rapids. Unfortunately for Detroit, Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning kept that from happening by claiming Ritola.
What this means is that Ritola is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is no longer a part of the Red Wings' organization, which is a bit disappointing.
He was a fourth-round pick in 2005 and had potential. That potential just never showed when he got opportunities with the Red Wings, and there simply wasn't room on the roster for Ritola. As a result, the Wings' only option was to expose him to the waiver wire, and Yzerman and the Lightning jumped at the opportunity to pick him up.