Photo credit:Instagram via @abbotsfordcanucks
All-Star bound Arshdeep Bains shining bright with Abbotsford Canucks once again this season
By Dave Hall20 days ago
As the clock ticked down in the dying moments of the second frame in a closely contested Pacific Division battle, the Abbotsford Canucks found themselves trailing by a single goal on Saturday night.
After a teammate dumped the puck in, Arshdeep Bains, number nine in white, stayed true to form and went to work on a play that epitomized the type of game he brings on a nightly basis.
He applied pressure on the forecheck and engaged in a hard-fought battle to reclaim possession. The puck sprung out just as Bains was taken down with an errant San Jose stick. Rather than giving up or appealing to the referee for a call, the 23-year-old stayed with the play and identified a wide-open Nick Cicek in the slot through the corner of his eye.
Falling to the ice, he delivered a cross-ice feed from his stomach that resulted in the game-tying goal, setting the Abbotsford Centre ablaze on a Saturday night.
It was yet another all-star-worthy feather in the cap of Abbotsford’s current point leader.
Fittingly, Bains is set to fly to San Jose to represent the club in this year’s AHL All-Star game on Sunday. He serves as the second Abbotsford Canuck to be selected for the event, following in Christian Wolanin’s footsteps from last year.
“I feel truly honoured to have been selected to represent the Canucks,” said Bains. “I owe it to the staff and my teammates who have helped and pushed me to get to this point.”
His “stomach assist” on Saturday was fitting in more ways than one.
Yes, it came via a highlight reel play, setting up a hopeful preview of what to expect on Monday when he dons the AHL All-Star jersey, but it also catapulted him to a new career-high in points and showcased what Bains’ game is all about.
With a total of 31 assists and 40 points, he has officially surpassed his previous season’s highs (39) and continues to fire at an impressive point-per-game clip through 40 games.
While currently on pace for a 70-point campaign, he has an opportunity to eclipse Sheldon Rempal’s 69-point 2021-22 season by a single point to claim the franchise’s best statistical single-season record.
Additionally, he finds himself within striking distance of another significant milestone, sitting just 13 points shy of the organization’s all-time leading scorer crown. The record is currently held by Sheldon Dries, an active player on the team who, unfortunately, has been sidelined due to injury for over a month.
An often overlooked facet of Bains’ incredible sophomore performance is the substantial weight load that he is tasked with on a nightly basis.
For those not closely following the team this season, Dries represents just one of the many fallen skaters. The Abbotsford Canucks have been ravaged by injuries throughout the entire season, with an ever-revolving door of absentees in the lineup at any given time, either due to injuries or professional call-ups.
In light of this, Head Coach Jeremy Colliton has had to depend on numerous players to punch above their weight class, and Arshdeep stands out as Exhibit A.
At just 23, he’s a player entrusted with the responsibility of leading the team both offensively and defensively night in and night out. Despite being only in his second year as a professional, the impact he has made at the AHL level speaks volumes about his character and work ethic.
Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton recently shared his insights into Arshdeep’s season during a featured segment on Sportsnet’s Canucks Talks.
“He’s been one of those guys that if he’s not good on any given night, we’re not winning. And that’s a lot to take on as a second-year pro,” Colliton said. “He’s getting better all the time and learning how to be a producing player while also using those two-way habits that will give him the chance to play in the NHL.”
Even through frequent lineup changes and coaching adjustments, Bains has remained the one constant on this team’s top line at even strength throughout the season. He serves as the dynamic playmaker on the power play and shoulders significant responsibilities on the penalty kill.
And despite being a responsible 200-foot player, if you were to scour through the list of Abbotsford productions this season, there’s a high likelihood that Bains sits at the forefront.
By now, you are well aware that he currently stands as the team’s points leader with an impressive 40 on the season, a figure that ranks him seventh league-wide. But he has nearly doubled the assists of any forward on the team, leading with 31 assists – 21 of which have been primary. At even-strength, he claims the top spot with 21 points at 5v5.
Graph courtesy of CanucksArmy Cody Severtson.
Additionally, on the power play, he leads the team with 11 points, including six primary assists.
Standing out as one of only 11 AHL players maintaining a point-per-game pace over 30 games (or more), the local Surrey native has been a beacon of reliability and offensive prowess throughout the challenging campaign.
If one were to identify any shortcomings in his game, it might be his relatively low shot count of 55, contributing to just nine goals, which sits sixth on the team.
A world where Bains elects to shoot more could provide additional dynamics and intrigue to his upside…
But that’s simply not his game.
At his best, Bains is an intelligent playmaking winger whose relentless work ethic, both on and off the puck, sets him apart as a dynamic force on the ice.
When not in possession, he transforms into a tenacious waterbug, applying pressure on puck carriers and contributing defensively by forcing turnovers.
With the puck, his awareness and quick decision-making shine bright, leading to swift one-touch passes, whether they be from a backhand spin-o-rama, a skilled saucer pass off of the rush, or simply from his stomach.
Saturday night’s “stomach pass” goes beyond a highlight reel assist; it encapsulates the type of reputation that Arshdeep Bains has carved for himself as a professional hockey player and what makes him the best candidate to represent the Abbotsford Canucks at this year’s AHL All-Star game.
On a nightly basis, he showcases his work ethic, extraordinary vision, and, most importantly, the profound impact as a leader on this Abbotsford Canucks team.
The storybook season continues on Monday evening when Arshdeep will take part in this year’s AHL All-Star Game, which begins at 6:00 PM Pacific Time.
While initially scheduled to showcase his skills in the weekend’s Skills Competition, including the Fastest Skater, Pass and Score, and Breakaway Relay events, extreme weather conditions led to travel delays, forcing Bains to bow out.
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