We’re in a bit of an awkward position with this entry of the Logbook player reviews as it’s a review of a player no longer with the Winnipeg Jets after this past weekend and a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.
Joel Armia came to the Jets as part of the Evander Kane trade with Buffalo and has spent the last four seasons with the Jets franchise picking up 26 goals and 58 points in 180 NHL games. His development as a strong two-way forward has been a slow but steady one and he actually made some nice strides this season picking up career highs in goals and points.
#40 – RIGHT WING
6’3″ / 205 lbs / Age: 25
Current Contract Status: RFA Arbitration Eligible (With Montreal)
|Season||GP||CF||CA||CF%||CF% rel||FF||FA||FF%||FF% rel||oZS%||dZS%|
PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Armia continued to develop nicely for the Jets this past season and posted his best offensive season yet with 12 goals and 29 points. He posted those numbers while being used primarily as a bottom six checking forward – a role he did very well in playing a lot on the same line with Adam Lowry. Armia’s strength at this moment lies in his ability to back-check well, get the puck and be able to carry into the offensive zone. He’s not exactly the fastest skater on the ice, but he can keep up with the play and his ability to weave through traffic at times has been breathtaking to watch. The biggest issue he has is his ability to finish plays. For someone with the puck possession numbers Armia has – especially in the playoff which we’ll get to in a moment – you would maybe expect a little more offensive production and while it got better this past season, it hasn’t fully developed like some had hoped it would.
That’s the catch with Armia and if you search for information on him, multiple sites will keep alluding to the phrase “shown flashes of brilliance” which is absolutely true especially on the penalty kill when he’s been used in that role. Armia can pull off plays that make you think “if he could just do that more often..” but for whatever reason it just hasn’t happened for him yet offensively. Something he himself has acknowledged and hoped to work on this summer.
Sadly if it does improve, it won’t be at the benefit of the Jets.
Armia’s strong defensive play continued in the playoffs along with Adam Lowry and Brandon Tanev. He led all Jets forwards in the playoffs with a CF% 5v5 rating of 60.3% while being deployed in a line that was asked to shutdown typically a team’s second line group. He also posted a 61.9% Fenwick For rating at even strength which again given his ability to get the puck and hold on to it, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Overall his first crack at playoff hockey went well and he proved that he could be a very capable depth forward.
Joel’s in a better place now – well, at least in terms of getting an opportunity to play and be higher on the depth chart than he would have been with the Winnipeg Jets. With the Habs, a strong camp may put him in line to at least get a look at top nine forward duty if not a spot in with the top two lines depending on how Andrew Shaw rebounds from an injury plagued 2017-18 season. Armia has already shown that he is very adept at creating turnovers, getting the puck from opposition and playing a masterful game of ‘keep-away’ with said puck as he weaves around the ice. What needs to come next in his development is an ability to finish either by being able to recognize a passing opportunity to a teammate or being able to score himself. Joel has it in him to do these things and if he can start developing that side of his game this fall, he Jets may really regret letting him go while Marc Bergevin (for once) will look like an utter genius.