Montreal Canadiens Extend Joel Armia

NHL Playoff Preview, Joel Armia extension

The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a contract extension with forward Joel Armia just before free agents can sign with other teams. Armia was not a dominant part of the 2020-21 roster, but he is a valuable contributor. The new contract keeps the Finn in Montreal for four seasons with an annual cap hit of $3.4 million. The team broke its own news late Tuesday afternoon.

Canadiens Extend Joel Armia

Armia was a solid secondary contributor for the Canadiens last year. He scored seven goals and 14 points in 41 games. It was a notable drop in per-game production stats compared to 2019-20, but it is hard to make too much out of a year that had as much randomness as 2020-21. Armia did make up for the lack of raw scoring with a respectable 51.5 percent Corsi For and -1.8 relative Corsi despite a drop in average ice time to just 14:42 per game.  Clearly, the front office sees value in the underlying numbers.

The Buffalo Sabres originally drafted Armia 16th overall in the 2011 Draft, but traded him early in his career. That deal sent him to the Winnipeg Jets in a deal that included Tyler Myers and Zach Bogosian. Winnipeg then traded Armia to Montreal in 2018 in a deal where they dumped Chris Mason’s contract. Armia has managed to accumulate 336 games across seven seasons despite appearing in more than 59 just once. He has 62 goals and and 125 points in that same amount of action.

What this Means

Armia will be a strong candidate to occupy a key spot in Montreal’s second or third lines in the coming year. We do not know exactly who his line will include, but the prospect of a full season next to Jesperi Kotkaniemi is very exciting. His performance in training camp will be one to watch closely.

The Canadiens now need to turn their attention to handful of other key pieces. Kotkaniemi and Artturi Lehkonen are vital restricted free agents, while Tomas Tatar is scheduled to hit the open market soon. Montreal has just $10.67 million in space, so they will need to spend it wisely as the look to repeat their strong postseason run in 2021-22 and beyond.

 

Main Photo:

MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 30: Montreal Canadiens right wing Joel Armia (40) misses his shot on Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the Winnipeg Jets versus the Montreal Canadiens game on April 30, 2021, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


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