Not a bad start. Arshdeep Bains had a solid four days at the Vancouver Canucks Development Camp at UBC, playing relaxed and with confidence after leading the Western Hockey League in scoring last season. Yes, he was an over-age player, but it shouldn’t matter. Confidence is the most important thing in any world of performance, and at the moment Bains calmly possesses it.
Confident, not cocky. Relaxed in the reality of it. It’s called Development Camp for a reason.
“When you first come to your first camp there’s a lot to think about, but throughout the week I was able to calm my nerves and get to work and learn things, and the scrimmage was fun,” the 21-year-old left winger said on Thursday. “First scrimmage for a lot of guys this summer and I think we all had a good time out there.”
Bains made history by becoming the first South Asian player to ever win the WHL scoring title, finishing with 112 points, 43 of them goals, for the Red Deer Rebels. His general manager Brent Sutter suggested as many as 15 NHL teams inquired about the player during the course of the season.
His hometown Vancouver Canucks were tickled to sign him.
“We know his skill set, he can make plays with the puck that not a lot (of players) can, and it’s just going to be an adjustment to the pace and the size and the strength,” said Vancouver Canucks Assistant to the General Manager Ryan Johnson, “and making sure he uses that skill set in the middle of the ice and not the perimeter, and that’s something we’re going to work with him and adjust with him.”
“The higher levels you climb the quicker it is, the faster it is, and the more physical, and I think he’s absolutely right,” Bains said of Johnson’s comment. “It’s just going to get harder, and I’m just going to have to adapt and get better and I’m going to have to get into the dirty areas.”
Bains, who’s known as ‘Arsh’ at home and ‘Bainsy’ in Red Deer, has a goal of making the AHL Abbotsford Canucks for the 2022-’23 season.
“Absolutely, every kid dreams to play in the NHL, and if that’s where I start or anywhere else, I’m happy to make the trip,” Bains said.
There’s a financial reward for eventually living out those dreams. In his three-year entry level deal he makes more than $800,000 if and when he plays at the NHL level. In the AHL, he makes $70-grand.
He’ll be chasing that dream as a local kid in the spotlight. The off-season grind begins now.