Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.
Since Jim Rutherford arrived as Canucks general manager, he hasn’t made many moves at all, but on his rookie GM resume is the signing of prospect Arshdeep Bains out of the WHL.
Back in March, Bains was signed to an entry-level contract. Born in Surrey, BC, Bains is a local product who went on to lead the Western Hockey League in points with 112. With this scoring title, Bains became the first person of South Asian descent to be the WHL’s leading scorer and at the time of his signing, it was reported that more than twenty teams had an interest in signing him.
Congratulations to @Rebelshockey forward Arshdeep Bains, 2021-22 recipient of the Bob Clarke Trophy as WHL Top Scorer, presented by @KubotaCanadaLtd.— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 2, 2022
| https://t.co/VTPOMCuD7O#WHLAwards | @Canucks pic.twitter.com/PwC8E5S5zs
It’s a low-risk, high-reward bet, but Bains remains a bit of a wild card. Dave Hall of Dobber Prospects calls him a “skilled forward with an intriguing combination of size and offensive potential”. Chris Faber, CanucksArmy prospects expert from CanucksArmy, wrote that it remains to be seen “if [Bains] can keep up with the pace of the AHL”, but also that he has “impressed with his hockey smarts in the corners and how he is able to use his body to protect the puck and push on defenders to gain space for himself”.
Faber continued, saying that Bains “does an excellent job handling the puck, and consistently has a good release on his shot” and that he should “be an integral piece of the Abbotsford Canucks’ middle-six this season.”
Being an undrafted free agent is always an uphill battle, but Bains appears to have the skill, work ethic, and consistency to at least make a run at making a name for himself.
What’s Next for Bains?
Look for Bains to be a nice fixture in Abbotsford next season. After dominating the WHL, Bains will likely be relied on to provide secondary scoring for the Abbotsford Canucks, and in a best-case scenario, become a core player for them.
Heading into training camp, Bains will be battling to make a name for himself more broadly in the Canucks organization and will try to emerge as a go-to player for the Baby Canucks.
Will Bains be pushing for an NHL roster spot next year? Unlikely, and even a call-up seems like a bit of a stretch. Anything is possible, though, and to-date Bains looks like found money. It will be interesting to see what exactly his next steps are. Bains has already broken barriers and could be an interesting name on this list for years to come.