The Montreal Canadiens have been struck with some more bad injury news, as head coach Claude Julien told reporters including Eric Engels of Sportsnet that both Joel Armia and Paul Byron will be out on a “week-to-week” basis. Armia was injured on Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, while Byron hasn’t played since the middle of November. The team will get one forward back however, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi is expected to play tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Armia, 26, has been an absolute bargain for the Canadiens since being acquired in a salary dump in 2018. Montreal took Steve Mason and his hefty contract from the Winnipeg Jets and proceeded to buy the goaltender out, but ended up with a depth forward who had just set career highs with 12 goals and 29 points. Right away Armia was a huge addition for the Canadiens, changing the look of their penalty kill while also providing some much needed secondary scoring. Though last season was also cut short to injury, he still provided 13 goals in 57 games.
This year has been even better, with Armia scoring at the best pace of his career. With 12 goals in 35 games he trails only Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher for the team lead, while his 21 points put him fifth among Canadiens forwards. His presence in all situations will be missed dearly, especially as Montreal tries to keep pace with the red hot Toronto Maple Leafs and make up some ground on the bruised Boston Bruins.