Local Kid Arshdeep Bains is Ready to Represent his Hometown Canucks at AHL All-Star Game

Arshdeep Bains has earned the honour of representing the Abbotsford Canucks at the AHL All-Star Game while he continues to develop his game in year two of his pro hockey career.

After signing with the Vancouver Canucks as an undrafted WHL free agent in May of 2022, Bains worked hard in his rookie season and gained a lot of trust and respect from the Abbotsford coaches.

He showed how committed he was by refining, simplifying and rebuilding his playing style for pro hockey.

In his rookie season, there were healthy scratches at the beginning of the year while Bains reconstructed a new player profile for himself. He needed to be a better two-way player in the league and stronger on board battles to be successful in the AHL. Which is not an easy thing to do for a player after a tremendously successful WHL career that saw him lead the league in points during the 2021-22 season.

Abbotsford Canucks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton saw the growth in Bains’ game last season and with that growth, Colliton gave Bains a bigger role and more opportunities in the AHL. By the end of the 2022-23 season, Bains was a top-line player who was contributing on both the power play and the penalty kill in the playoffs for Abbotsford.

In a season where he began the year as a healthy scratch, his significant rise in the lineup is a testament to Bains' ability to self-assess and work extremely hard at improving his skill-set

This season, Bains is over a point per game player with 33 points in 32 games. He’s playing on the left-half wall of the first power play unit and is often the first forward over the boards when the Canucks need to kill a penalty.

“He's a really important player for us who can play in all situations,” said Colliton. "He's transformed his game to be a two-way, responsible, heart and soul kind of player.”

Colliton spoke about how Bains is such an important piece to the Abbotsford Canucks’ lineup and that Bains is relied upon to drive offence in a top-six role. That said, the Abbotsford head coach also admits that Bains needs to continue to work at being a solid two-way player to eventually get to the NHL one day.

The head coach sees a high ceiling for Bains but knows that to be a regular in the NHL, you need to have consistency and a good base level when you aren’t playing up to your top potential night in and night out.

“His maximum level has been really high and you love seeing that,” said Colliton. “It’s just finding a way to raise your minimum level to find that consistency to be day-in and day-out one of the best players on the ice. He’s going in the right direction. In particular, over the last 10 days, he’s been really good. And we need him to be good. We have important games to play – divisional games against teams at the top of the standings with us. Those games are the times where guys like him can come through in the clutch and that’s what’s going to help prepare him for if he gets a chance in Vancouver.”

As for the All-Star weekend, Bains is very much looking forward to the experience in San Jose.

“I think it’s pretty special,” said Bains. “I’m going to have some fun there. It’s not too serious but it's nice to get recognized for playing well. I’ve got to see what skills competition I’m in and maybe I’ll try some cool stuff on the ice.”

Bains joked that he would be looking to some of his teammates who show off some puck skills after practice for some tips. Tristen Nielsen and Aatu Räty were two Abbotsford Canucks that Bains mentioned.

As for getting a chance to represent his hometown team. Bains is beyond excited and wants to take on the role of being someone that local kids can look up to.

“It’s awesome,” said Bains about being able to represent the Canucks at the AHL All-Star Game as a local kid. “I don’t think that happens too often where a guy gets to represent their local team and city like this. Hopefully, the kids playing hockey in BC can look up to me and I can show them that I can be a good role model.”

The AHL All-Star weekend is scheduled for February 4th-5th in San Jose, California.

Bains also offered up that he’s looking forward to some warmer weather and claims that he has some tricks up his sleeve to show off some of his skill.