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Canucks Prospect Review: Arshdeep Bains blew away expectations in his first pro season

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Photo credit:@abbotsfordcanucks on IG
Faber
By Faber
8 months ago
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After leading the WHL in scoring during the 2021-22 season, Arshdeep Bains was even more impressive in his first season of pro hockey and grew throughout his rookie year.
Making the transition from major junior to pro is no easy task. Bains struggled a bit at the start of the 2022-23 AHL season as he wasn’t able to consistently get into the lineup. It wasn’t until Bains became a trusted penalty killer when he began to be a staple in the Abbotsford Canucks’ lineup.
Bains finished the season with 66 games played and scored 13 goals while adding 25 assists. He was a big reason why Danila Klimovich had success this season. A line of (Abbotsford captain) Chase Wouters, Klimovich and Bains was a trio we saw play a ton of minutes together as the year went on. The young twenty-somethings were good in their own zone and controlled a lot of the share of scoring chances while they were on the ice.
When the line was firing on all cylinders, Bains was rolling in assists. He began to thrive as a playmaker in the AHL and did a lot of his damage at five-on-five with Wouters and Klimovich.
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We saw a consistent rise in Bains’ effectiveness on the penalty kill. By playoffs, Bains was looked at as one of the top-two forwards who kills penalties for the Canucks and he came up huge in the biggest moments, scoring big shorthanded goals in the playoffs.
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After such a strong rookie season, Bains has put himself in the conversation to play NHL games next year. With Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford’s track record of letting prospects cook in the AHL, we likely won’t see Bains get a long run in the NHL next year but instead, he will be looked at to continue to grow his game and develop new skills in the AHL that will ultimately help him once he reaches the NHL.
One note that has been hit on multiple times this season by AHL General Manager and Director of Player Development Ryan Johnson is that Bains needs a big offseason of working out. Johnson has told us that he wants to see Bains build muscle in his lower half. Skating is still the weakest point of Bains’ game but his pace certainly didn’t hurt him in the AHL last season. Bains thinks the game so well that he is rarely out of position in the neutral or defensive zones. Then, in the offensive zone, he has such good offensive instincts and his pinpoint passing skill shines at the AHL level.

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We don’t think Bains will end up becoming a top-six NHL player but we do see him being an effective bottom-six winger who can kill penalties and may even get some looks on a second power play unit because of his great playmaking ability.
All in all, the 2022-23 season was a tremendously good one for the 22-year-old undrafted free agent and he sets a great standard for work ethic in the AHL. Bains is a leader of the prospects down on the farm and he should easily be able to build on his strong rookie season.
Expectations are now high after what he did in year one.
Predictions for 2023-24 season
58 games played, 18 goals and 33 assists in AHL.
7 games played, one assist and some penalty-killing time in NHL.

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