Thomas Vanek the Sabres’ perennial goal-scoring leader knows a thing or two about finding the net. It takes timing talent and luck three things he’s already seen in Buffalo prospect Joel Armia.

“He puts himself in good spots” Vanek said Thursday. “Those are the things you can’t teach. You either have it or you don’t and he seems to have it.”

The timing and talent have been evident throughout Armia’s first training camp. The luck showed itself during his First Niagara Center debut.

The 20-year-old winger scored his first goal in a Sabres uniform Thursday night during a 5-2 victory over Carolina. No matter how long he plays few will come easier. Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin tried clearing the puck from behind his net but he instead put it onto the tape of Armia. The sniper calmly went to the front and dumped the puck into an empty cage.

“I just tried to get that as fast as possible” Armia said. “Everything has been good so far and this game was also a good experience for me.”

The crowd of 17626 that has been waiting more than two years to see Armia applauded a sound the Sabres hope becomes a regular event.

“He’s got the skill level” coach Ron Rolston said. “He can skate and he’s a big body.

“It’s outstanding. His hands and finish are very good.”

Armia has been on Buffalo’s radar since the team selected him with the 16th overall pick of the 2011 draft. He spent the past three seasons playing in the Finnish Elite League and he finished second in goals for Assat all three years. The potency piqued people’s interest.

“It’s not just the people” Vanek said. “It’s all of us in here too. You can see the talent there.”

While the talent is unquestioned the query is whether Armia will step right into the NHL. The Sabres could certainly use his scoring touch but it’s a big jump from Europe to North America.

“I hope I’m in the NHL this season” Armia said. “I try to give everything I’ve got in the practice and I hope that’s enough.