Overreactions: Sabres select Joel Armia 16th overall

For the first time since the Sabres still wore black and red, the franchise selected a European player in the NHL Draft, and they went big.

With the 16th overall pick, Buffalo selected right wing Joel Armia from Assat of the Finnish league.

Armia is a 6’3″ winger whose primary talent is putting the puck in the net. The scouting report sounds familiar:

“He’s big and tall but surprisingly mobile for a player of his size. He has a very good feel for the game and moving the puck well with his linemates. He has a heavy wrist shot that he gets off quickly and is always looking for the empty spots on the ice. He’s a sniper with a good selection of shots. You might have to look for him during some shifts, but then, suddenly, he scores the winner.”

Oh. So, he’s Thomas Vanek?

Here are some quick thoughts on the pick:

  • When the World Juniors were in Buffalo this past winter, I spent a good amount of time watching Armia specifically during Finland games. I knew he was one of the top draft-eligible guys in the tournament, and honestly, I didn’t notice him much. He did show flashes of brilliance, but they were few and far between. He had one assist in the tournament.
  • Seeing Armia’s highlight video, you can see the talent. Kid can score goals. He has that touch and confidence around the net that translates at any level.
  • I was convinced the Sabres would go with a center, especially with Mark McNeill still on the board. I’m surprised they went winger, with as deep as they are at this position.
  • Another thing to keep in mind: Darcy Regier has depth charts set up for years down the road. When he makes moves, he has those in mind. Drafting a big scoring winger, you’d have to think part of the pick is knowing that Vanek or Stafford might not be around down the line.



Posted on June 25, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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