Friday, June 24, 2011

E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120: Joel Armia #10

By Eldon MacDonald

10. Joel Armia - “The Finish Guy” - RW - Finland

Vitals: Size - 6’3”, 192 lb.; Shoots right; Born: 31-May-93 - Pori, FIN
Team: Ässät, Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga)
2010-11 Stats: 48-18-11-29-24 + FIN Elite playoffs 5-2-0-2-4 + U18 6-4-9-13-8-(+2)
10 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
11 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
11 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
11 - Dean Millard -The Pipeline Show Top 30
13 - ISS's Top 30 - 30-May-11 per TSN
14 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
14 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
15 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
15 - The Hockey News per TSN
16 - Guy Flaming - The Pipeline Show Top 30
16 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (4th European skater)
18 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
18 - McKeen's June Top 30
19 - Craig Button's Top 30 of 8-Jun-11
21 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
Draft result:
16 - Buffalo Sabres

Joel Armia plays on the first line for Ässät of the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) finishing second on the team in goals with 18. In addition, he played for Team Finland at the U18’s where he tied for third most points in the tournament with 13 in 6 games. He played at the U20’s too but was not a major factor there. That early success in the Finnish Elite League is unusual and surprised a lot of people. As his coach, former NHL all-star Pekka Rautakallio, told, “Day by day he was getting better, and what I mean by better is his puck handling … he has great hands and a good hockey sense. He has surprised everyone in the whole country, especially the hockey people."

So tell me more about Joel Armia. Well, above all else, Joel Armia is just
a big ole goal scorer and I love big ole goal scorers. What makes Joel so lethal are his plethora of shots, his dangle to weave around defenders, his skating to bring the puck up ice, the will to hang around the net to finish the job and most of all the mind of a goal scorer. He also possesses high-end hands and playmaking skills to augment his own goal scoring to make him an all-around offensive weapon. He is also very coachable and is aware of his duties in all the zones. He has all the tools necessary to be a first line goal scorer in the NHL.

OK, tell me about his weaknesses. Well, he has some of the usual ones associated with European players who have not played on this side of the pond - needs to add muscle and strength, needs to be more physical, needs to win more battles, needs to shoot more, needs to improve his defensive capabilities. However, there is one major red flag that needs to be addressed for him to be successful in North America and that is to improve his consistency and compete levels. That is why most others have him rated lower than me (at ten) but his upside is so high that even most of the doubters have him in the teens. Where does he go, we shall see tonight (June 24th).


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