Joel Armia Could Garner Interest This Summer

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens
Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

With two more years left on his current deal, Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia could draw some interest this offseason.

His $3.5 million cap hit through the 2025-26 season is a little rich, but with his improved play this season, that might be overlooked. It's a little surprising that he didn't garner interest at the Trade Deadline. Or maybe he did, and it just flew under the radar.

Regardless, Armia has been an integral piece of the Habs' forward core. The 30-year-old is hard to play against and easy to play alongside, because of his simplified style. He doesn't try to do too much and is hard to take the puck away from.

Much like Jake Evans, they aren't exhilarating offensive talents, but they do their best work away from the puck. Both dogged back checkers and smart defensive presences they are ideal in shutdown roles. Five to ten goals is a likely range for them, but the issue with Armia is his age and that's why moving him this summer before his value plummets would be wise asset management.

The 6 foot 4 Swiss Army Knife is a strong penalty killer and his puck protection skills ensure that he kills off a ton of time while shorthanded. He isn't speedy, but always in the right position with his head up looking a few steps ahead of the play. For a playoff team, Armia can slot into the bottom six and provide energy and smart play, without hurting the team.

During the postseason, special teams can create a make-or-break scenario for a contender and that is when a player like Armia shines most. In the final minutes of the period, he is best served defending because he is willing to pay the price to block shots. His smart, well-positioned defensive stick also serves him well; as it cuts off passing lanes and discourages shots against.

A well-balanced team isn't compiled with strictly stud offensive players and defensive specialists. This is why a player like Armia is so important; he generally keeps the puck away from the front of the net. In the defensive zone, he battles hard to get the puck and move it up through the neutral zone and he supports his forwards.

Armia would be a big loss, but the Canadiens want to get younger, and he is an obvious option to move out. Josh Anderson and Brendan Gallagher are two examples of players, who would be options as well, if not for their poor play and high cap hit. Armia, however, has played particularly well and his contract is much more manageable than the other two.

Unless he is dealt as part of a package, I don't foresee the return being a big one; but more as one to open up a roster spot for a younger player.