Joel Armia was brought into the Montreal Canadiens organization one year ago as a restricted free agent and signed to a one-year contract shortly afterward. With that contract expiring, he has inked a new two-year deal to avoid arbitration, with a cap hit of $2.6 million.
His year was played mostly alongside rookie centreman Jesperi Kotkaniemi, helping to cover any defensive issues the 2018 draft selection experienced in his first season. Armia did an admirable job in that role.
He didn’t contribute a large amount of offence, and may have actually been a hindrance to Kotkaniemi in that department, but his defensive play was beneficial to the team, at both five-on-five and the penalty kill. That talent earned him a new deal in Montreal.
Armia was one of three players who spent the 2018-19 season on the Canadiens roster who were heading for restricted free agency. Artturi Lehkonen now becomes Marc Bergevin’s focus among the Habs’ RFA crop.