The Habs took care of one of their pending unrestricted free agents on Tuesday, announcing the re-signing of Joel Armia to a four-year contract. The deal carries a cap hit of $3.4 million.
The 28-year-old has spent the last three seasons in Montreal after basically being given away by Winnipeg as an incentive for taking on (and subsequently buying out) the final year of Steve Mason’s contract. Armia had beat his career high in goals in each of his first two seasons with the Canadiens before taking a step back in that regard this past season, notching just seven tallies along with seven assists in 41 games.
However, he stepped up his performance in the playoffs despite playing a lesser role. He found himself as a regular on the fourth line with Corey Perry and Eric Staal, a slow-skating trio that was able to work the cycle game to their advantage. The end result was five goals and three points in 21 games for Armia which certainly bolstered his case heading into free agency.
At a minimum, Armia should be able to continue to play an integral role on the penalty kill but the Habs will be counting on him to find the offensive consistency that has eluded him throughout his career to justify this price tag. Otherwise, this contract could be similar to that of Paul Byron, a useful player but one whose value is dragged down by an above-market price tag.