Thursday, December 23, 2010
WJC Players to Watch: Joel Armia
Finland has a very... interesting lineup going for them this year. They have some top-end offensive talent, such as Teemu Pulkkinen, Toni Rajala and Erik Haula, and some more "typical" two-way players in Joonas Nattinen, Joonas Donskoi Iiro Pakarinen. However, one Finn who could, and should, play a key role in his team's successes is Joel Armia.
Armia, a huge center listed at 6'4" and 192 lbs., plays for Assat Pori in Finland's SM-Liiga where he has 12 goals and 7 assists in 30 games. Currently Armia is considered to be an early first-roudn pick for the 2011 NHL entry draft: he's ranked #7 by International Scouting Services and #1 out of players in Finland by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.
As mentioned, Finland does have talent throughout its squad, but Armia is the closest thing to the "total package" they have. More importantly though is the fact that he brings this package in such a large frame, as he is the biggest forward they have on their roster. In a tournament played on North American ice, size is going to be a huge factor and Armia should be relied upon heavily to, at the very least, drive to the net and cause as much havoc around the crease as possible.