Thursday, March 31, 2011
2011 Draft Profile: Joel Armia
He has ridiculous hands for someone his size - and a wicked shot as well. Most of his goals this season have been of the highlight-reel variety - but he shows a willingness to go to tough areas to gain the puck and make and finish plays. Although he possesses the hands of a finesse player, I think his NHL prospects is that of a hybrid skill/power forward - along the lines of a quicker Johan Franzen.
This season, he finished 5th in team scoring, and 2nd in goal-scoring - but the numbers don't do justice to Armia's true draft potential. Last year, 5'8, 165lb Mikael Granlund scored at a point/game pace in the FNL and went in the top-10. Armia is nowhere near that pace, but his combination of size, soft hands, and ridiculous sniping ability make him one of the more potent goal-scorers to come out of Europe in a while. Earlier, he was ranked as the 2nd best European player in the 2011 draft after Adam Larsson, and many were projecting him to go in the top 10 - however he's fallen in rankings due to a being somewhat of a no-show at the WJHC (played only one game, putting up 1A). As it is, he looks bound to go in the 12-20 range at this point.
At only 190lb, he has about 15-20lb more to gain before he becomes the power forward that he can become. It's hard to find comparisons for him - as it's rare to have such a large player with such great skills. The primary factor preventing him from becoming an Alexander Semin-like player is his lack of footspeed - he's an average skater at this point. His long stride allows him to effectively move in straight lines, but his overall mobility is average by NHL standards.
Regardless, the skill-set this man possesses is ridiculous, and he has potential to be the top goalscorer coming out of the first round. As far as the Oilers go - this is the ideal RW for their top-6 heading forward - a big bodied power forward with the offensive savvy to gel with the likes of Hall, Paajarvi, and Eberle.