By John Vogl
Joel Armia has been a top prospect in Sabreland for more than two years. The locals will finally get a good look at him tonight.
Armia, drafted 16th overall by Buffalo in the 2011 NHL draft, will play against Carolina during the Sabres' preseason home opener in First Niagara Center. It's been a long wait for Armia, who spent the previous three seasons playing professionally in his native Finland.
Armia will get a prime opportunity to shine in his Buffalo debut. He'll play alongside center Cody Hodgson and fellow winger Thomas Vanek -- two-thirds of the Sabres' No. 1 line for the regular season.
"It’s a great opportunity for me to play with these guys," said Armia, who is said to possess Vanek's goal-scoring talent. "It’s going to help a lot to play with him. It’s going to be a good experience for me to see what he’s doing on the ice and maybe try to learn something from him."
Like the fans, Buffalo's players have long heard about Armia and are ready to see what he's got.
"It’s not just the people," Vanek said. "It’s all of us in here, too. You can see the talent there."
Goaltender Ryan Miller is scheduled to play the entire game, said coach Ron Rolston. The complete lineup is here.
To hear all of Rolston's interview, click the audio file below.