The Buffalo Sabres have selected Assat RW Joel Armia with the 16th pick of the 2011 NHL draft. A pure scorer, the 6'3, 191-pound Armia scored 18 goals and 29 points as a 17-year old this past season with Assat of the Finnish Elite League.
Armia is a great skater with an amazing set of hands and excellent creativity. A player who could've gone anywhere from 10-20, his combination of size and offense are a most welcome addition to the Sabres prospect ranks. Sniper city.
You could see the tools in place when he skated on HSBC Arena ice this past winter with Finland's entry at the World Junior Championship. The big wing didn't have the best tournament statistically (just one assist in six games), but continued to build as his year with Assat progressed. Armia returned to international play at the U18 World Championship, faring much better with four goals and 13 points to keep himself in the thick of first-round conversations.
And one for all the club-goers out there.
We said we wanted skill at forward, and the Sabres certainly delivered with a compelling package. (And they went to Europe for the first time in five years to do it.) With two years left on his contract with Assat, Armia will need to keep adding strength to his long frame while maturing his two-way awareness.
Let's not fool ourselves though. Armia is here to score goals, and this was an excellent pick by the Sabres at #16. As a matter of fact, Armia's skill level will land him VERY HIGH on the next SabresProspects rankings list.
For more info, check out Chris Ralph's profile on the young Finnish sniper.