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High hockey IQ and nasty playmaking make Arshdeep Bains the Canucks’ 10th-best prospect
By Faber1 year ago
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After qualifying prospects and diving into the honourable mentions on Sunday, we are set to begin the CanucksArmy top-10 prospect rankings.
Coming in at number 10 is the kid from Surrey, Arshdeep Bains.
Arshdeep Bains, LW/RW, 22 years old, CHL signing
Coming in at 6’1″ and 185 pounds, Arshdeep Bains is currently in his rookie season of pro hockey playing with the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL. He led the WHL in points for the 2021-22 season with 112 points in 68 games with the Red Deer Rebels.
So far this season, he has six goals and 14 assists through 35 AHL games. He is also being trusted to kill penalties for Abbotsford and is becoming an assist machine for sniper Danila Klimovich. Bains and Klimovich have been linked up with Chase Wouters since the Penticton Young Stars Tournament in the summer and the three are building a level of chemistry that is beginning to shine at the AHL level.
Making the jump from major junior to the AHL has been a pretty seamless transition for the 22-year-old lifetime Canucks fan. Bains had a couple of speedbumps in the early part of his rookie AHL season but has really found a groove over the past couple of months.
“I think the first year is probably the year where you learn the most,” said Bains. “We’re off in the second half now and you find yourself in a consistent daily schedule going through the year. I think everyone knows what’s going to happen every night when we come to play and every practice day we have a goal to accomplish. I’m getting super comfortable, but I know what to expect and that’s massively important. I know what to do every day and it’s pretty nice having the same guys to play with. Everything feels good right now.”
Bains has six goals and 14 assists through 35 AHL games this season. He is showing that he can be successful in this league and though he is typically lined up on the fourth line with Wouters and Klimovich — the trio has had some games where they are absolutely dominant against the opposition’s bottom-six lines.
We all saw the godly point totals that Bains had during his final season in the WHL but what has been the most impressive at the pro level is his willingness to backcheck, smarts in the defensive zone, and overall vision in the defensive zone that rarely sees him out of place in Abbotsford Head Coach Jeremy Colliton’s defensive structure. On top of his smarts in the defensive zone, he’s got a drive to defend and it shows on his aggressive backchecks and willingness to throw the body around when needed.
There’s not really a great way to explain it aside from that we simply like the way that Bains plays the game. He is ultra-competitive but manages his emotions on the ice with a calm mentality. His playmaking has been good throughout the season but really blossomed over the past two months as he is making some ridiculous primary assists at the AHL level.
The part of his game that is likely the weakest is his skating. If he is able to add some pace and agility to his game, he is a surefire NHLer. Right now, it’s up in the air if he will consistently be in the NHL or simply develop into a solid AHLer.
We think that the top-end speed is at an adequate level but it’s going to need to be those fast twitch muscles that need to improve for him to look like he has NHL speed. Luckily, his hockey IQ combined with his average pace makes him rarely out of position but if he is to be successful in the NHL, we will need to see just a bit more speed in those first two or three steps.
Bains has worked with Vancouver Canucks skills coach Yogi Švejkovský since he was a young kid and spends his offseasons working with Švejkovský.
We are rooting for Bains, as he was a Canucks fan growing up and luckily for him, that fandom has never left — he is coming in at number 10 on our prospects rankings and it surely will be a dream come true when he arrives in Vancouver to put on yet another Canucks jersey.
We projected that this season would be a year where he struggled to get into the lineup on a nightly basis and would need to learn about the AHL before having offensive success. We’re happy to report that he already looks right at home in the AHL and at just 22 years old, there’s a bright future for this kid.
Not bad for an undrafted CHL signing…
He likely won’t become a top-six contributor at the NHL level, but with his playmaking skill and intelligence in the defensive zone, we could see Bains getting a run in the Canucks’ bottom six at some point next season. After this season, we will head into a summer where he will have a year of professional hockey under his belt and will also know what he needs to work on to get him to the next level.
If he continues to improve as this season goes on and makes some improvements to his skating throughout the summer, we can see Bains being someone who gets a chance to play in the NHL sometime during the 2023-24 season.
This concludes our 10th-ranked prospect report. We will be back tomorrow with number nine on the rankings!
- Arshdeep Bains
Honourable Mentions: Aku Koskenvuo, Joni Jurmo, Connor Lockhart, and Kirill Kudryavtsev.
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