Vancouver Canucks of Tomorrow: Arshdeep Bains
Canucks of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Vancouver Canucks system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them if and when they advance through the Vancouver organization. Today, we feature Arshdeep Bains.
Position: Left wing
How Acquired: Free agent signing, March 11, 2022.
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-PTS) 68-43-69-112, 56 PIM (WHL, Red Deer)
Contract Status: Three seasons remaining on a three year, two-way, entry-level contract.
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Abbotsford Canucks
The Abbotsford Canucks is an optimistic projection. It’ll take some hard work against some stiff competition for the Surrey native to avoid the ECHL. But Arshdeep Bains feels he’s capable after a solid four days at the Vancouver Canucks Development Camp at UBC in July. As we pointed out in an earlier profile, “confidence is the most important thing in any world of performance, and at the moment Bains calmly possesses it”.
“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 when camp was over.
Bains became the first South Asian player to ever win the WHL scoring title, finishing with 112 points for the Red Deer Rebels. The team’s owner and general manager Brent Sutter suggested as many as 15 NHL teams inquired about the player during the course of the season.
“I’m very proud of Arsh’, we bring him in as a 16-year-old player and he’s into his fifth season with us,” Sutter said postseason. “A kid that was undrafted into our league, he’s worked on his game, he’s made himself better. I thought last year is when we really started seeing him take some strides and coming back this year he and I had some talks about the expectations I had for him and he put on himself, and he’s come in and done all that and more.”
He’ll need to get stronger physically as the step up from over-age junior leaguer to the pro levels will be challenging. That confidence can wane.
“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.”
Dave Hall of Dobber Prospects said of Bains, “He brings an intriguing mix of size (6-foot-1), skill, and grit to the mix and carries the potential to translate into a well-versed bottom-six contributor.”
Bains grew up playing for a number of local programs and teams including the Delta Hockey Academy, the AAA Vancouver NE Chiefs and the West Valley Giants.
The spotlight grew the second Bains signed his contract in March. 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 or ECHL, he makes $70,000. Naturally he was thrilled to sign with his favourite, local, childhood NHL club.
‘Arsh’ or ‘Bainsy’ has a goal of making the American League level for the 2022-’23 season. He’ll have to dig deep. The challenge will be fun and intriguing to watch and he’ll have plenty of local fans pulling for him.