Arshdeep Bains is beginning to separate himself as the Vancouver Canucks’ top call-up option
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber1 month ago
Currently sitting tied for second in AHL scoring, local kid, Arshdeep Bains is beginning to look like the number-one call-up option for the Vancouver Canucks when they inevitably need to look down to the farm later on in the season.
At just 22 years old, Bains seems to be figuring it all out.
With blue and green in his blood from a young age, Bains has been creating a ton of offence since the beginning of the 2023-24 AHL season and a lot of his confidence this year had to have come from his long run with the Vancouver Canucks in the preseason as well as his spot with NHL linemates throughout training camp in Victoria.
When you watch the AHL, you see certain skills stick out — whether that be shooting, skating, physicality, playmaking or other notable assets in a hockey player’s game. Being ready to come out of the AHL and make the NHL jump typically comes when a player has mastered two, three or more of those impactful skills.
Right now, Bains’ biggest two strengths are his playmaking and his hockey IQ.
Every single one of Bains’ coaches that we’ve talked to has raved about his awareness on the ice and how it translates to being ahead of the play in both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. Bains takes his hockey IQ onto the penalty kill and is one of Abbotsford’s most trusted penalty killers. He put a bow on that title last year in the AHL playoffs when he scored two shorthanded goals during one penalty kill.
If you watch these last two clips, something you can also pretty easily see is the improvement in his skating.
Abbotsford General Manager Ryan Johnson challenged Bains to work on his lower-body strength and it has shown well for Bains, who currently has two goals and seven assists through six AHL games.
Here’s another example of his improved speed this season, and this one led to his first goal of the year.
Another part of being a call-up option is being somewhat of a Swiss army knife.
Bains is currently being used on Abbotsford’s first power play unit and we mentioned him being one of the most-trusted penalty killers on the team.
So far, we’ve talked about improved skating, good special teams play, great playmaking, and high-end hockey IQ.
So what’s holding him back from being in the NHL?
Right now, it’s a focus on building confidence and honing his craft while he awaits a roster change at the NHL level. Bains is becoming a great story for the organization after he signed as an over-age, undrafted free agent in March of 2022. He went on to have a strong rookie season in 2022-23 with 13 goals and 25 assists in 66 games but this season, he’s already clicking at a 1.33 points per game ratio — much better than his 0.58 points per game run last season. A lot of that is due to a small sample size, sure. He’s also playing in the top-six and seeing more time on the power play this season. At this time last year, Bains was just fighting and clawing for a chance to be in the lineup — yes, he was a healthy scratch at times during his rookie season.
Now, it’s all about continuing to build and one thing that has never been questioned about Bains is his work ethic. His offseason was a massive one and it’s showing in spades on the eye test. He’s so much quicker than he was last season and his feet have now caught up to his hands, which are elite at the AHL level.
If the Vancouver Canucks need a winger to play on the bottom-six due to an injury at the NHL level or simply not getting enough from some of their wingers and want to make a change.
Bains is their guy.
We thought this day would come at some point in Bains’ career but we’re shocked at the offseason improvement and are starting to think he will be a guy who gets a shot in the very near future.
Arshdeep Bains is the next man up.
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