Don’t look now, but the current leading goal-scorer for the Montreal Canadiens is none other than Joel Armia. The Finnish forward has been nothing short of excellent this year, and he was the key to putting his team ahead against Toronto on Saturday night.
In a roller coaster of a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tricolore blew a two-goal lead and needed a spark to get things back on track heading into the third period. With a short man-advantage to start that third frame, it took all of seven seconds for Armia to implicate himself. And he did so in gorgeous fashion.
He made a fool of Jake Muzzin at the blue line with a beautiful one-handed move. From there, he was in alone, and he dunked it. It was a beautiful goal, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his team.
My title may be slightly misleading, because with six goals in nine games, Armia is actually on pace for 54 goals. That would be insane — and it isn’t going to happen — but if he can keep getting things done on the power play like he has been, he’s in for a career year.
Three of his six goals have come with the man advantage. Obviously he’s been good at even-strength as well, but he’s been lethal on the power play and a big reason why his team is finally respectable on that front. It’s a refreshing thing to see.
Regression is bound to come, but as long as he continues to be the lynchpin in a resurgent Habs power play, he is going to continue to get opportunities. He’s made the best of those so far, so it’s hard to argue that he can’t keep doing that moving forward.
When you consider his production thus far within the context of his $2.6 million cap hit, it is even more impressive. He’s making his case for a serious raise when the time comes, and whether that happens with Montreal or not, the Habs are certainly enjoying his presence right now.
It will be very hard for him to sustain his pace, but Joel Armia is making noise, and you can’t help but hope he keeps doing so.