Joel Armia: RW, Assat, SM-Liiga (Finland)
Born 5-31-1993...6'3" 187 pounds...Right Hand Shot...Ranked 4th for European Skaters in Final Central Scouting Rankings after being ranked 2nd at Mid-Term...18 goals, 11 assists, 24 PIM in 28 games for Assat...tallied just one assist at the World Junior Championships, but impressed at the U-18 Championships with four goals and 13 points in just 6 games...possesses great hands and goal scoring instincts, along with NHL compatible frame...wants the puck on his stick; literally said in an interview "I want the puck"...is fantastic with competing for the puck and with it on his stick...among a handful of the most pure goal scorers in this year's draft class...sees the ice well and makes good decisions distributing the puck...can create scoring chances and shots for himself...excels when given time and space, but also capable of operating in tighter checking situations...can be dominant along the walls in the corner, using his natural size to his advantage...has nose for net...will become a dangerous offensive threat when filled out but still physically immature...due to lack of physical strength is knocked off the puck easily because of high center of gravity...a one-dimensional player at this stage of his development...still raw, especially in terms of defensive zone responsibilities...can take himself out of position...slow to cover for others- i.e. a pinching defenseman...can act indifferent, if not lazy, at times during games...Armia possesses all the tools and the upside, but is still raw and will need alot of coaching, especially in respect to the defensive side of the game.
Dan Shrader on Joel Armia:
I've seen a number of mock drafts (tis the season for them) with Minnesota taking Joel Armia at 10. It makes a lot of sense, since outside of Mikael Granlund, we lack prospects with offensive upside that could be considered "elite." Historically this franchise has struggled to score goals, and now you have a big, goal scoring Finnish winger who could be on the board- I can see why the authors of these mocks would pencil in Armia. Throw in also that Armia is a quiet kid without a strong grip on the English language, Minnesota would have a built in support system with Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund, and Niklas Backstrom.
I talked to Kirk Luedeke (a great reference by the way, make sure you visit his site early and often,) who gave me a generous amount of insight on Armia- this quote by Kirk really resonated with me-
"The question is- will he put in the work and energy it takes to maximize his prodigious gifts? His fans and boosters say yes, but I have yet to see the hard evidence that would lead me to believe that light is going to come on for him."
I'll pass on Armia. Even if Joel Armia is exactly what Minnesota desperately needs in the toybox, I can't get behind taking a player who looks to have an issue with motivation, and reaching his potential- I've seen a comparable to Mikko Lehtonen, who is Wild property but chose to stay in Europe after three seasons with Providence in the AHL, and to hit closer to home, we have Benoit Pouliot. Guys who ooze talent, have everything a scout could want, except that inner drive to get better. Sure, its easy to look at what looks like a promising upside (especially offensively) but at what cost? Not at 10.
Nate Wells on Joel Armia:
Whether it's because the Wild are a team chalk full of Finns or there aren't any Minnesotans looking to be a top-fifteen pick, Joel Armia is popular amongst the Wild masses. However more than any prospect, Armia is an enigma. His numbers look good but they aren't Mikael Granlund (who went one pick earlier) good. Armia has size but watching him during the World Juniors he was knocked off the puck by players smaller than him. In theory he's a player that the Wild need given their lack of top-end wingers and goal-scorers, but fans should be aware that Armia is more of a project at 10 than other available players. He has a high ceiling and tools teams love (you don't see too many 6'3" guys with such great hands) but it will take time and will not be any immediate help. Because of that he's not my first pick at ten - I just don't see him being the best player available and is a reach despite his high ceiling.