Grading Joel Armia's season

Joel Armia's season was a tale of two halves, thankfully the second half was, oh so sweet.
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Joel Armia's season was a tale of two halves, it started with him looking like he was battling the puck and skating in the mud.

This earned him a demotion to the American Hockey League's Laval Rocket, where Armia took exception to Habs' management's decision. For my money, aside from Brandon Gignac, Armia was the best forward for the Rocket. The big Finn scored six goals and three assists in eight games with the baby Habs.

Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton and Martin St. Louis decided Armia showed more than enough to prove he had turned a new leaf. With that, he got called back up to the Habs and brought the confidence he built with the Rocket to Montreal. He posted a career-high in goals (17) and his third-best season from a production standpoint.

Past his prime now or nearing that point, anyway, it's not likely that Armia will score more points than he did this year. But his effectiveness on the penalty kill is where his value stands out most. His large frame and tremendous wingspan make it difficult to knock the puck off his stick, which becomes a crucial asset after playoff time when goals are even more important.

That leads me to my next point, because he is 31 years old now, the likeliness of him wanting to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs soon increases exponentially each year. For that reason, I think that the Canadiens may try to move him at the 2025 Trade Deadline. This will be dependent on where the team ranks come March '25, especially considering that his contract ends next July.

If Armia continues his strong play from this season and carries it into next season, then he could be a highly coveted asset. He made a nice trio with Eric Staal and Corey Perry when the Canadiens had their Cinderella bubble Stanley Cup run and that certainly won't be forgotten. I don't think that he is at the point where he won't be useful, but if Montreal isn't ready, then getting a return for him could be an example of smart asset management.

I would grade Armia's season as a B+, I don't think that he will score more goals than he did, but without the demotion, he would have sealed an A season for himself.