Faber’s Prospect Rankings #9: Arshdeep Bains is developing into a hometown NHLer who thrives on the penalty kill

Photo credit:@abbotsfordcanucks on IG.
By Faber
11 months ago
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It’s been a great story for the Surrey-born winger but though the book has already begun, the rest is still unwritten for Arshdeep Bains.
After leading the WHL in scoring during the 2021-22 season, Bains jumped to the AHL and struggled at times at the beginning of the season. He figured out what he needed to do to get into the lineup and then began mastering it.
Penalty killing, hockey IQ and playmaking are Bains’ three best skills. The 22-year-old Bains improved so much during his first pro season — making jumps in every single part of his game from his scoring ability to his skating stride. We were told about Bains’ unmatched work ethic in junior and now that he’s a pro, he hasn’t left any of that work ethic behind — if anything, he’s cranked it up a level.
Everything that Bains improved on or added to his game during his rookie season will benefit him chalking out a spot in the NHL one day. We may not be looking at a top-six NHLer here with Bains but he has been showing us that he is one of the best passers in Abbotsford and that will help in an NHL bottom-six role. Bains knows where the offence is most consistent, he does a great job funnelling pucks to the net at even-strength and was a big reason how Danila Klimovich found the back of the net so often this past season — the two were on a line with Chase Wouters for a majority of the season and they won their matchup nearly every night.
A reason why we have believed in Bains since the Canucks signed him was how often everyone around him spoke about his hockey IQ and work ethic. You can have all the skills in the world but it can easily be wasted if you don’t have the two aforementioned traits. Bains works extremely hard in practice and we’ve even seen him showing his penalty kill partners what he wants from them during practice — the dude busted out the whiteboard one time when we were out in Abbotsford watching practice during playoff time.
The one area where Bains can gain the biggest step towards becoming an everyday NHLer is improving his skating. Right now, Bains is a fine skater, he doesn’t necessarily stick out in the AHL in a positive or negative way. He keeps up with the pace of the AHL with ease but doesn’t seem to break away from the opposition. Abbotsford General Manager Ryan Johnson has spoken about Bains needing to have a big offseason in terms of building strength in his lower-half while also building his skating skill. If Bains can take a step in his skating, there’s zero worry in our eyes about him becoming an everyday NHL player.
Bains is very close to being an NHL calibre player and as an undrafted free agent signing, this is a big boost for the Canucks’ pipeline.
There’s still room to grow as well, and that’s exciting because he just impressed us this much in his rookie season — as a top-10 prospect should.
Ceiling: Middle-six forward. If everything continues to develop at the rate that we saw last season, we can see Bains having a ceiling of a middle-six forward but see him more likely being a bottom-six winger who adds value to himself with his strong play on the penalty kill.
Floor: Top-line AHLer.
Production (and how): 13 goals and 25 assists in 66 AHL games last season. He was at his best alongside Wouters and Klimovich but also provided a ton of help on the penalty kill. Bains did see some power play time, primarily in the second half of the season but he seems to be more effective offensively at five-on-five. Bains makes his linemates better due to his elite skill os seeing not only where his teammates are on the ice but also where they can go to get the best scoring chance. Bains may ultimately look even better in the NHL as he has the smarts to blend nicely with an NHL system run at NHL speed.
Prediction (for the 2023-24 year): We are expecting more top-six time for Bains in the AHL next season and he should be able to grow his production in his sophomore season. We predict Bains will play in 61 AHL games, scoring 17 goals and adding 33 assists. It will not surprise us to see Bains get some NHL games in as well. We are going to guess that he plays in four NHL games next season.
ETA: He might be in the NHL this season. If there are injuries on the wings and the team needs a trustworthy fourth-line player, Bains will be the guy out of Abbotsford for the role. The fact that he is thriving in shorthanded situations will assist him in achieving a spot in the NHL lineup. He’s coming quickly.
Bains is a local kid, who grew up a Canucks fan and for all his life, has had the dream of playing at Rogers Arena. I think that type of motivation is worth something. Bains has achieved a lot in his rookie pro season and he has set a high standard for what to expect from the 22-year-old. Now, Bains will need to continue to grow and with a solid development team in Abbotsford, there’s nothing holding him back from becoming a success story.
We love how much Bains speaks about the help and guidance he receives from the Sedin twins in Abbotsford. Bains was even used at Canucks development camp to speak to the prospects and share his story of making the jump from junior to pro hockey.
Now, Bains need to continue to grind and get better every day. If you know the person at all, you know this is something that is not questioned from Bains — he’s going to work his ass off and is the type of success story that you can’t help but root for. If Bains can even add a half-step to his game, there’s no question in our eyes that he will become an effective bottom-six NHLer.
Let the kid cook.


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