In preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, the Montreal Canadiens announced they have recalled forward Joel Armia from their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. In a corresponding move, the team has placed defenseman Arber Xhekaj on injured reserve, and it is retroactive to his last game on November 16th.
Notably failing to make the team out of training camp and being placed on waivers shortly thereafter, this will be Armia’s second call-up of the season. After receiving a promotion to the Canadiens on October 21st, Armia played in six games for Montreal and scored one goal in that time before being sent back down on November 12th.
While in Laval, Armia has been an effective point producer for the Rocket, scoring six goals and three assists in eight games, placing him seventh on the team in overall scoring, even while playing in about as half as many games as the rest of the roster. Nevertheless, with a relatively high salary of $3.4MM for this season and next, Armia should still largely factor as a sunk cost for the Canadiens on the remainder of the contract.
Xhekaj, on the other hand, is indicative of another growing trend with Montreal recently, making him the third player on the team to go on the injured reserve in the last several days. Fellow defenseman Jordan Harris, as well as forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard, have also gone down with injuries in recent days.
After a relatively strong start to the season given the talent level on the NHL roster, the play of the Canadiens has slipped dramatically over the last several weeks. Starting off the season with a 5-2-1 record, Montreal has slipped to last place in the Atlantic Division after going 3-7-1 in their next 11 games.