Canadiens' Joel Armia clears waivers and is likely headed to Laval

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Not surprisingly, no other NHL team claimed Joel Armia after the Canadiens placed him on waivers Sunday.

Armia cleared waivers at 2 p.m. Monday. The 30-year-old forward has two seasons remaining on his four-year, US$13.6-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.4 million. Armia will actually earn US$4.8 million this season and US$3.8 million next season.

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Canadiens defenceman Gustav Lindström was also placed on waivers Sunday and cleared on Monday. Lindström, 24, has a one-year, US$950,000 contract. Both players will likely be sent to the AHL’s Laval Rocket.

If Armia is sent to Laval, the Canadiens would receive US$1.15 million in buried cap relief, meaning his cap hit would be US$2.25 million.

Former general manager Marc Bergevin signed Armia to his contract in the summer of 2021, shortly after the Canadiens had advanced to the Stanley Cup final before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Armia had a disappointing regular season that year, with 7-7-14 totals in 41 games, but played better during the playoffs on a fourth line with veterans Eric Staal and Corey Perry, posting 5-3-8 totals in 21 post-season games.

Since signing his big contract, Armia has 13-15-28 totals in 103 games over the last two seasons, along with a minus-22 differential.

At 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds, Armia has size and he also has plenty of skill, which is why the Buffalo Sabres selected him in the first round (16th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft. The Finnish forward is a man of very few words and comes across as a big, quiet, shy guy. Unfortunately, he too often plays like a big, quiet, shy guy, seeming to lack drive and determination.

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