Joel Armia Ready To Join The Buffalo Sabres


Joel Armia may not have been able to impress at Sabres Development Camp thanks to a wedding back home, but he still has the eye of management and the fast track to a starting job in Buffalo this fall. All thanks to a lack of depth at forward. As of press time, the list of top end wingers on the Buffalo Sabres roster reads like this: Thomas Vanek. And if half the fans in Buffalo get their way, he’ll be off that list within the year as well. The biggest reason for this youth movement of suffering in the first place is the team’s inability to groom enough scoring wingers and centers to keep up with a deep blue line and goalie Ryan Miller. Change is a slow process, but one can hope that in Armia, the Sabres have an answer to this organizational deficiency.

As the only winger drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Sabres in the last four years – prior to 2012 – Joel Armia is considered the top prospect at the position. Since being picked 16th overall in 2011, he’s spent two seasons playing in the SM-liiga in Finland for Assat Pori. That team name sounds like a fancy Italian car so obviously they won the league title last year. Our boy chipped in eight points in sixteen games during that run, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but remember that the SM-liiga is a man’s league. Joel was playing against guys at least five, if not ten or fifteen years older than him in a tight checking league. To be counted on to score at better than a .5 pts/game clip for as long he did is an impressive feat.

At 6’3”, Armia has the size and skill to make his own room on the ice to free up a snappy wrist shot, as seen in this highlight video below:

There was one video with music, but I love how the crowd and overall sound of this video recalls old NHL 94 with the cheering noise after a goal.

Joel Armia is a good reason for the Sabres to keep Vanek as well because the two forwards play a similar game. Armia isn’t going to blow anyone away with his quickness, but he uses his size well and his smooth style makes up for his lack of blazing foot speed. Hockey Futures ranked Armia 32nd in their 2012-13 prospect list. Of course, if they’d taken the time to do a few Google searches, if so they would have realized that Armia is a dead ringer for a young Billy Idol. That should bump him a few notches, no? If that doesn’t, then watch another highlight video:

This video made the article because it’s called Joel “The Sailor” Armia. Is that his nickname in Finland? If it wasn’t, it is now.

If you’re not excited yet, don’t worry. We haven’t gotten to the best part of Joel Armia. Before we get to that though, let’s put some expectation on The Sailor’s first year in the Buffalo organization. At first guess, I’d have said that Armia would start the season in Rochester maybe just for a dozen or so games to get him acclimated to North American hockey. I don’t know how different it is from Finland to be honest, but there are likely tweaks to be made. After a trial period and an inevitable injury in the big club, expect Darcy Regier to cast his sails with Joel and sea where it takes him. Dammit, I really shouldn’t have found that YouTube video.

Anyways, I looked at the Sabres depth chart and decided there’s no way Armia isn’t already the 7th or 8th best goal scorer on that roster. That’s talent-wise though. Ron Rolston might decide Armia needs time in the system, and rightfully so. Rochester and Buffalo run the same system and Armia would benefit from learning it as a slower speed first. That said, the Sabres lack top end talent and if this is their best guy to address that, they’ll need to put him in some blue and gold sooner rather than later. Fans should expect to see Armia in Buffalo by Christmas at the latest.

And now, as promised, the very best picture I could find of Joel Armia, found on his Twitter profile, Joel Armia’s Twitter profile pic.  Big, slick, smooth, and sporting a stache straight from 1983? Grab your sea charts, people. The Sailor is charting a course to Buffalo.

Stay tuned for coming weeks, when we look at other young prospects ready to take the leap and play for the Buffalo Sabres.

Cory Buck is an NHL writer for Sabre Noise. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @TheBuckMopsHere.

Tags: Joel Armia

  • Matt Nolan

    I can’t wait for this year now I can say go score a Joel!!!!!

    • Matt Nolan

      And if he brings a stache like that to the sabres I’ll buy his jersey the sabres need more mustaches in the lineup big bold staches psychological warfare style

    • wolfdoctor

      You’re a Pollyanna. Try being a realist for once.

      • Matt Nolan

        Lol someone took that personal and I am being real I’m gonna have fun with the team this year kuz it’s a toss up we could suck we could rock either way I’m gonna laugh and be merry this article is all about the potential Joel has man neither of us know so I am being real I’m really gonna have fun and not be all negative before the season starts its not just this post man you bring the negativity your not a realist you don’t have serious knowledge or an insider scoop you just are a disappointed sabres fan who is carrying over the negativity from last season even if he’s a bust enjoy not having gerbe or hecht out there I am realist about where the sabres are right now but I also like to think on the bright side kuz if all the sabres fans were as negative as you are when you post it would be a bleak affair so even if he’s a bust it seems we have a character one who has the potential to be a good player so welcome to buffalo go kick ass

        • wolfdoctor

          As I said I’m very high on many of the Sabres prospects. And I am very optimistic of the Sabres future. If that makes me negative, then well …

          • Matt Nolan

            How do u feel about grigo? And Joel looks like he doesn’t shy from physicality he has good puck skills sure he doesn’t look mean and has a concussion history but if he can translate to a smaller rink I think he can be pretty good I feel as if Joel would do well learning from vanek I’m excited about our future the moves weve made starting w gaustad and kassian trades up till now not signing free agents for rediculous sums of cash was smart im hoping that when bailey hits the ice it’ll be on I love the bailey pick and zadorov Nikita looks ferocious

          • wolfdoctor

            Not sure about Grigo. He wasn’t handled properly last year. Regier has said that he’s playing in Buffalo this coming season. He’s very skillful and I just hope he gets the ice time (and decent line mates) he needs to improve.

            BTW, I thought the Sabres had a great draft. 3-4 years from now, IMO, we’ll have a super team. I enjoy following the prospects and we sure have a lot of good ones.

          • Matt Nolan

            Grigo to me holds his own destiny I really hope girginsons will rub off on him as for our prospects our 2012 fifth rounder Austin impressed me at prospect game I really hope bailey can turn into a Dustin byufglin type linebacker on skates I think pysyk could be a long time d man who will be consistent and possibly have a playoff winner to remember and I thought that when grigo came back he was beginning to figure out where to go and I agree it will depend on who he is paired with I expect leino though who knows it may be leino hodgson vanek as #1 at this point as long as its not John Scott I’d actually like to see armia girginsons grigorenko as a line how likely idk but if they all pan out that would be cool combination hardwork playmaking scoring…

          • wolfdoctor

            I hope the Sabres don’t rush Girgensons like they rush Grigo. I really would like to see Girgs play on the top line in Rochester for about half the season, then be brought up to Buffalo.

            I cringe at the thought of a line such as Scott – Grigorenko – Matt Ellis. Grigorenko and Armia would be a good combination. Larsson is supposed to be NHL ready. Perhaps move him to LW and put him on the line with Grigo and Armia. I don’t see a problem with an all-rookie line. Give them 10-15 minutes a game.

            I’m really impressed from what I’ve seen of Bailey. A linebacker on skates with a great shot. Hopefully he continues to progress.

            Zadorov was the player I wanted the Sabres to take at #8. Getting him at #16 was sensational. He reminds his coach of Larry Robinson. If he becomes half as good as Robinson, then the Sabres will have picked a great defenseman.

          • Matt Nolan

            To be honest I still wish we pulled the trigger on nichushkin the pressure will be on ristolainen not to bust he’s the one I could see not translating more than Joel armia ristolainen was a minus player in sm liiga sure they say he has a great shot well lets hope he doesn’t pull a Brennan I was hoping we would draft nichushkin weeks before the draft. hopefully we just drafted two ten year d men

          • wolfdoctor

            I agree. The highlights of Risto are few and far between. He was supposed to be the best defenseman from Europe available for the draft, but a negative +/- doesn’t instill me with confidence.

  • Jes

    He’s going to be a beauty. Imagine a line of Vanek (If not traded) – Hodgson – Armia (Fully developed)
    Now that’s spells out scary good.

  • wolfdoctor

    He just seems kind of frail (multiple concussions already). I’m not sure he will be able to handle the North American game. I’m going to predict that he becomes a bust, but I hope I’m wrong.

    • Matt Nolan

      Your a negative nancy try the bright side for once

      • wolfdoctor

        Just a realist, but am hoping for the best. How does that make me negative?

        If it makes you feel better I’m very high on Pysyk, Risto, Zadorov, Girgensons, McCabe and Bailey.

        • Troy Berkely

          You left out Rudy! Very smart player! But I agree, this is an important year for Myers. If he can’t show improvement, or return to form and use his potential, he is as good as gone.

  • Tony

    “…keep up with a deep blue line…”?

    Seriously? Other than Ehrhoff, we have Myers who has been a joke, Weber who wouldn’t be top 6 anywhere else, Mcbain -a castoff who I hope can start to live up to his potential, Tallinder a healthy scratch most of last year that’s way past his prime, and a few unproven, and very young prospects. Excuse my pessimism, but I’m tired of being let down by this team that Darcy has built. All I can say is…show me.

    • Matt Nolan

      The way I see it this is the last year of our old core… Miller stafford ennis vanek all on contract years I personally liked webers play last year and I didn’t like it for years calling Myers a joke is kinda harsh thought he needs to improve over his past two years…. Sure things aren’t perfect but they had a decent record down the stretch and haven’t really lost much gerbe sekera Hecht I don’t see why we can’t be better than last year

    • Jes

      By keeping up with the blue line I’m the writer meant our future on the blue line looks great. Hell we may even have one of the top 2 defenses in the league once our future defensemen come up. Nashville is another team that looks unbelievable on the blue line.

      Ehrhoff is here for basically rest of his career, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

      Myers had a couple bad season but was completely misused by Ruff. Did you even watch how his game changed for the better once Rolston took over? He is just entering his prime.

      Ristolainen is huge and can skate, hit, score and dish the puck like no one else. He is ready for the very least to be on the 1st defensive pairing in the AHL

      Zadorov will be Ristolainen in a year or two.

      Pysyk can easily be a top 4 once he’s got a couple seasons under his belt.

      McNabb will be a huge defensive defensemen. He’ll block shots take and most certainly give hits.

      McCabe will be a good defender with leadership skills. He’s not that far off at making a run at the AHL then of course after some seasoning will be a good NHL defenseman.

      Have you seen Weber’s game change? Guy wasn’t the same player last year. The guy is our best defensive defensemen. He’d easily be a top 6 on many other teams.

      The only two I agree with you on is McBain and Tallinder. But if Tallinder does get Myers back on track Regier will look like a genius. McBain is a nobody and honestly was just a throw in on the deal to make the salary work for Carolina. But he was good in his rookie year for those 10 or so games he had played but since then nothing much to talk about concerning him.

      • Tony

        You pretty much did agree with me because everything you said about Ristolainen, Zadorov, and all the prospects is that they are unproven. You’re speculating that their “accomplishments” to this point will translate to the big leagues. Hell, I’m still waiting for Dennis Persson to come up. Oh, wait. And Myers makes a bit too much money…ok, way too much money to place the blame on Ruff for him looking like a heap of crap on the ice. The blame is solely on him and the fact that we need to bring in someone like Tallinder to “pick up” Myers’ game is a joke. He’s a pro getting paid superstar money and now the team has to make another investment just for the hope that Tallinder can get him to perform at even a respectable level? That’s sad. He got burned repeatedly by stronger, faster, and better prepared opponents. Myers has been very noticeably out of shape at the beginning of every season since his rookie year and he is painful to watch. I’m embarrassed for him. I’m not sold on Weber at all. I like the small sample of Pysyk that I’ve seen and I’ll agree that Ehrhoff is a stud.

        • Tony

          Remember the hype about Myers? I do. I hope these prospects turn out great, but again…show me. Until then I’m withholding my excitement because Darcy’s sure fire, homegrown, prospects have let me down plenty of times before this. “Oh, it was Ruff’s fault, it was bc of this…yada, yada.” And I will never say that Regier is a genius if bringing Tallinder here helps Myers. I will say that he’s an even bigger idiot who spent more money to cover up the fact that he should not have given Myers that outrageous contract based on potential after one mediocre, ROOKIE season. He’s back pedaling trying to justify his signing and that’s a reflection of his ego. He will not admit he does anything wrong and tries to tell us it’s all part of his master plan (and secret, master plan bc he never let’s anyone know what the hell he’s doing) I’m convinced he doesn’t even know what he’s doing as shown by his inability to pick a direction and go with it. It’s like watching a pinball. I don’t think I’ll be excited again until he’s gone, to be completely honest. Ugh.

  • davidmuscalo

    At this point Armia is just another prospect. He may astound us or he may end up a career AHLer. Right now he is a tabula rasa and will remain so until he begins his American hockey career in Rochester or Buffalo – I’m guessing it will be in Rochester.